Some thoughts about blogging and “style”
One not only wants to be understood when one writes, but also quite as certainly not to be understood. It is by no means an objection to a book when someone finds it unintelligible. —Nietzsche
I liked this post on writing one sentence paragraphs (via Alice), and the advice seems sensible enough – indeed, I was saying the same thing in 1420 (annoyingly, I seem to have misplaced a really popular article I wrote around the same time about using tabloid conventions on the web). When you’re writing for work a terse, active style is a must.
Green’s extreme version put me in mind of the stuff Robin Rendle sometimes writes, which he likens to using PowerPoint. Each idea is neatly sectioned off, to be considered independently.
Writing here is another thing. I sometimes like a trail of short and long sentences, broken up by a fairly random cast of colons, semi-colons, em dashes or even plain, puritanical commas, forming longer, probably difficult to follow paragraphs. Depends.
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Writing for the web is certainly different to writing for a book. But I really dislike posts in which every sentence is presented as a single paragraph: it reads as if the writer doesn’t understand what a paragraph is for, coming across as totally disjointed.
The BBC has started doing this a lot. I always used to joke these articles read as if they were written by an A.I. Nowadays, I suspect they actually are!
In my recent review of Seth Godwin’s ‘The Practice’, I complained the book read like a bunch of bullet points with the bullets removed. Most of my long-form writing starts life as a bullet-point outline, but there’s a lot more to the process than simply dropping the bullets.
To me, the fundamental unit of writing is not the sentence but the paragraph.
Yes, and even work “web” writing is rarely one sentence a paragraph; more one idea, or simply splitting longer threads into shorter chunks.
I think it can be quite an interesting form, especially paired with imagery – as it is in the Robin Rendle post I link to (and he uses the odd two sentence paragraph).
Enjoyed the single word paragraph at the end of your Godin review.
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@leonp I tend to write in plain language, shorter sentences etc. Sometimes though I enjoy long and tangled so I do that. My blog, my rules. 😀
@Miraz Exactly! If you can’t indulge yourself on your own blog, where can you indulge yourself :-)