【写作谈】On Writing Well《写作法宝》 中的二十条箴言 | 采铜采铜的创想世界
我研究的第一本书叫 On Writing Well： The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction，它的中译本名为《写作法宝》。其实这本书我在七八年前读博期间，就已读过原版，当时只浏览了一遍，就被收获颇丰，这次拿来反复重读，便有更多体会。可惜的是，它的中译译得很糟糕，读起来磕磕碰碰，难得原著精华。所以我建议大家读原版，或者原版和中译本对照阅读。
Writing isn't easy and isn't fun. It is hard and lonely.
Rewriting is the essence of writing.
Writing is a craft, not an art, and that the man who runs away from his craft because he lacks inspiration is fooling himself.
Professional writers are solitary drudges who seldom see other writers.
Ultimately the product that any writer has to sell is not the subject being written about, but who he or she is.
The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning that's already in the verb, every passive con struction that leaves the reader unsure of who is doing what— these are the thousand and one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence.
Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can't exist without the other.
Thinking clearly is a conscious act that writers must force on themselves, as if they were working on any other project that requires logic: making a shopping list or doing an algebra problem. Good writing doesn't come naturally, though most people seem to think it does.
Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it's because it is hard.
Few people realize how badly they write. Nobody has shown them how much excess or murkiness has crept into their style and how it obstructs what they are trying to say. If you give me an eight-page article and I tell you to cut it to four pages, you'll howl and say it can't be done. Then you'll go home and do it, and it will be much better. After that comes the hard part: cutting it to three.
The reader will notice if you are putting on airs. Readers want the person who is talking to them to sound genuine. Therefore a fundamental rule is: be yourself.
You are writing for yourself. Don't try to visualize the great mass audience. There is no such audience—every reader is a different person. Don't try to guess what sort of thing editors want to publish or what you think the country is in a mood to read. Editors and readers don't know what they want to read until they read it. Besides, they're always looking for something new. 你只是为自己写作。不要去设想所谓的大众读者。没有大众读者，因为每一个读者都是不同的。不要去猜测编辑喜欢出版什么，也不要考虑时下国人的阅读氛围。直到亲眼读到，编辑和读者并不知道他们想要读什么。当然，他们总是在寻找新东西。
The race in writing is not to the swift but to the original.
Make a habit of reading what is being written today and what has been written by earlier masters. Writing is learned by imitation. If anyone asked me how I learned to write, I'd say I learned by reading the men and women who were doing the kind of writing I wanted to do and trying to figure out how they did it.
Also bear in mind, when you're choosing words and stringing them together, how they sound. This may seem absurd: readers read with their eyes. But in fact they hear what they are reading far more than you realize. Therefore such matters as rhythm and alliteration are vital to every sentence.
Every successful piece of nonfiction should leave the reader with one provocative thought that he or she didn't have before. Not two thoughts, or five—just one.
The most important sentence in any article is the first one. If it doesn't induce the reader to proceed to the second sentence, your article is dead. And if the second sentence doesn't induce him to continue to the third sentence, it's equally dead.
Your lead must capture the reader immediately and force him to keep reading. It must cajole him with freshness, or novelty, or paradox, or humor, or surprise, or with an unusual idea, or an interesting fact, or a question. Anything will do, as long as it nudges his curiosity and tugs at his sleeve.
You should always collect more material than you will use. Every article is strong in proportion to the surplus of details from which you can choose the few that will serve you best—if you don't go on gathering facts forever.
Paragraphing is a subtle but important element in writing nonfiction articles and books, a road map constantly telling your reader how you have organized your ideas. Study good nonfiction writers to see how they do it. You'll find that almost all of them think in paragraph units, not in sentence units. Each paragraph has its own integrity of content and structure.