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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

More Smoothness

What I meant in the previous post is not that every sentence and paragraph in a draft you show someone else will be perfect, but that every sentence and paragraph would be the type of sentence or paragraph that you would present in a final draft.

If you are asking someone else for advice on something you've written, you don't want them to have to squint and imagine what the ideas would be if dressed up to go out on the town. The ideas should already be dressed up, presented in quasi-formal attire.

The reason is: the reader will be distracted by those stylistic nuances and attention will go in that direction rather than to the ideas. Even if you want the reader to correct your style, you want to get this style as good as it can get on its own, because otherwise the reader will be telling you what you already know rather than isolating the problems that remain out of your reach.

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