Friday, July 18, 2008

S&W and Williams, where 2 worlds meet

I admit it- I have never read a book such as Williams, and this has been eye-opening.

S&W is great, still great. Has much to offer, albeit in a rather difficult format for me to get thru. I now understand that this is just the way it is... Writing about writing is hard. That's all there is to it! I still worry about my writing, as I have this fear that Prof Strunk is standing there, bow tie on, gray hair, shaking his head just so.

Williams? He is in some place where those that know go. I am not one of those people. I want to be, so I continue to read. Williams is a bit like a person that gets better as you get to know them. My husband is like that. It's like an onion, you peel off each layer, and then you get to the sweet, clear inside. This is my experience of Williams. The initial reading is kind of tough. I have actually read this book for the past several days, many parts over and over, dog eared pages (the shame!!) and written in the margins. I NEVER do that. But, for Williams, I am doing just that. I am sure that I will eventually have more the one copy. I have read Williams everywhere. Bed, Bathtub, in the car, at the kitchen table. Each place I read him I get something different. And, actually, once you get thru some of the harder parts, Williams is actually conversational. Hard to have a nice "voice" when writing something such as this book, but he pulls it off.

S&W does not have the same sort of style. It has a purpose, and that purpose is to be a handbook. I do not see the same sort of purpose to Williams. I state it's hard to read Williams, yet, it's also the type of book that you cannot really get snippets out of to help with your writing. You do need to read at least passages. There is a progression to Williams that seems natural...and one that follows what a writer should learn. Step By Step. Okay, you could think handbook, but not's something more. It's a journey.

S&W is geared towards the normal writer. Williams is geared towards an advanced audience. I bet even Ph.D Students would use this book- and benefit. This man is impressive. Some of it is definitely over my head. Some sinks in; at strange times I think...OH! I get it! It is very embarrassing that I don't get some of the things he is talking about. Williams really wants to help make writing and the reading of complicated writing easier. I believe that he thinks about the new advanced writer, and wants to help make that transition less obvious and tramatic- for both parties, the reader and the writer.

The progression of books in 328 is as sensible as can be. S&W comes before Williams. At this point in our writing career, we are turning into better writers, and therefore, we do need to absorb, and attempt to retain, what Williams is offering us. Stepping stones. S&W beings the journey. Williams helps along the journey. Writing and learning is a never ending journey. How nice to have a helping hand.

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