Posted by: Corri van de Stege | May 11, 2008

The Sunday Salon

I am not sure how to add the Sunday Salon logo to my side bar – wordpress idiosynchrasies still play havoc – and although I realise that there are instructions on the host website for copying and pasting, my attempts have failed.  Also, having signed up to the Sunday Salon, I actually have no idea whether I am supposed to link my postings somehow or other to the host and if so, how to do that.

Never mind, I happily join this group of bloggers as I usually provide comments on my reading on Sundays anyway and this is a nice way of keeping in touch on progress with everyone else.

Today is one of those unusually hot days in England, with temperatures soaring to mid 20s and we now have had half a week of this weather.  So, I wrote most of this while enjoying the sunshine in my garden and I’m afraid that there is not much serious reading going on today, apart from scouring the newspapers.    I have, however, dug up all the weed from a side patch of the garden and have planted shrubs and flowers.  Hopefully they grow and the patch does not deteriorate once more into a weed covered mass because there are only so many things I can keep up with during the week.

I have been doing some reading though this week and parallel to James Wood I have been reading through Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’.  The latter needs to be read alongside the little style guide by Strunk and White Elements of Style.  Stephen King swears by the advice offered in this little handbook and I must say that even if it all seems a matter of fact, it is actually indispensible, as King suggests.  It’s the use of adverbs (or rather, the non-use of adverbs), the usage of the ‘which’ and ‘that’ the many silly little errors an aspiring writer can make and that can ruin an otherwise well written piece and may be the difference betwen a successful and well-written story and a badly written one.  Don’t I know it: the same style guidance of course applies to the writing of reports, as I do in the day job.  How easy it is however to forget all this common sense and resort to difficult constructins and imporant sounding words and phrases only because you want it to sound so much more important and interesting and ‘professional’.  A big mistake of course and re-reading the style book helps you stay on the straight and narrow.

This week I’ve also started another book from the Neustadt list, I am hooked by these authors.  I intended to read Octavio Paz but so far I have not been able to lay my hands on a copy so I picked up David Malouf’s colection of short stories ‘Every Move You Make’.  A wonderful find, again, as not only are these stories fantastically well written, the book can also go towards my short story challenge for this year.  I’ll review these stories once I’ve read them all.  So far, I’ve read the first two and I think they are really impressive.  I wish I could write with this seeming ease and such perfect use of language.

And then I have submitted my short story for the writing course – not a bad week after all. 

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Responses

  1. Hello Fellow Sunday Saloner!

    I really had a time with WordPress. Blogger is easier for me.

    If you don’t mind me asking, what writing course are you taking? Is it local or on-line?

  2. I just wanted to stop by and say hi – it’s not often I find a fellow Englander on the Salon 🙂 It truly has been a baking weekend and I’ve had a lovely time sitting in the garden with a book or two.

    Do you ever share your own short stories here on your blog?

  3. Welcome to the Sunday Salon seachanges! As to getting that pesky badge working with WordPress, just be sure to make sure you’re pasting the non-javascript code in a text widget added to your sidebar. That’s how I did it and it worked out well.

  4. I loved Stephen King’s _On Writing_! I wish I’d taken notes while I read it, though…
    Welcome to The Sunday Salong!

  5. JKaye: it’s an Open University course, the advanced writing course. It’s good if you like the discipline, which I do, and have not got the time for joining classes on a regular basis, which I don’t.
    Mrs. S – lovely to meet you, and enjoying the same weather! I have posted a few odd bits and pieces of writing but nothing complete so far. I’m saving bits up for a novel…
    imani: I’m going to try again!
    Sarah: thank you! I’m happy to join you all

  6. Welcome to the Salon. That’s the second time this week I’ve come across a mention of the Strunk and White. I don’t know it but I can see I’m going to have to rectify that. I love books about writing.

  7. Welcome to the Salon!

    I never would have thought I had anything in common with Stephen King, but I swear by Strunk & White too. 🙂

  8. Welcome to Sunday Salon!

    I’m not a fan of King’s fiction, but I did find much worthwhile in On Writing. Thank you for the reminder to pull out my Strunk & White. It’s so easy to fall into bad grammar habits. I’m a medical technical writer, and am required to use a great deal of jargon.

  9. Ann Darton: definitely worth getting hold of, the Strunk and White I mean.
    Julie: know what you mean about Stephen King… but he did put me on track with Strunk and White
    Ravenous Reader: yes, those reports… don’t I know. One bright light is that I keep being told that I ‘write well’…. (even if it’s nothing to do with fiction/creative writing, but with reports on education…) – great consolation to be able to consult Strunk and White every so often.


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