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Friday, January 1, 2010

Writing as Product, not Process

I envision writing as a product, not a process. I think an over-emphasis on the process itself is damaging in that it prevents us from envisioning the final product that we are aiming for. I call this the translators fallacy: suppose the translator goes back and forth between the words "vertigo" and "dizziness" a half-dozen times, finally settling on "dizziness." The translator can write a beautiful essay explaining the process, but ultimately the reader of the translation only has the final result, one work of the other. It doesn't matter if a sentence is revised many times if the end-result is not better.

There should be, I feel, a base-line first-draft style that is serviceable and produced with some degree of fluency. Revisions of style might still be laborious, but they will make something good even better.

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