An author on writing: McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith is an author I really enjoy reading. His writing is concise but really draws me into the moment, the place. I get to use my imagination when I read him.

I found an article in the Wall Street Journal this week. AMS discusses the overuse of adjectives and descriptions in writing in an article called “Block that Adjective!.” Other than completely agreeing with him, the article is pretty funny. Give it a read!


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. T.A. Olivia (aka) Darksculptures
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 16:19:25

    Clearly this article was not intended for lovers of lavish words or the overly expressive users of adverbs and adjectives such as those who tend toward eloquent poetry and deep running lyrical language randomly spun throughout the extravagant text of their well articulated novels, such as I. 😉


    • Kathan Lewis
      Oct 28, 2010 @ 20:47:45

      Teeheehee – that’s one long, sentence, DS, frought with lovely adverbs and adjectives, I might add… But truly, there’s something to be said about good, lyrical writing. However, I think the best of that style mixes simple with complex, so it doesn’t sound too much like an essay written by a high school student. 😉

      P.S. LOVE THE NEW PHOTO. Beautiful.


  2. Parrot Writes
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 10:07:05

    Thanks for sharing this link. He makes a good case for being concise. “Nobody uses large numbers of adjectives when they think, and I believe that writing which one cannot actually think can very easily look wrong on the page.” Makes sense to me!


  3. Dr. Tom Bibey
    Oct 27, 2010 @ 19:51:11

    No use in telling facts with long words when you can show truth with short ones.

    Dr. B


  4. Shaddy
    Oct 27, 2010 @ 18:22:41

    I’ve just recently read the first three books in McCall Smith’s The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. I especially enjoyed the first two. They’re such easy and entertaining reads that I found joy in them.

    It is so tempting to write extravagantly when writing sparingly can do the job and is often more appreciated by the masses. I often tend to write rather long sentences when two shorter sentences would be more effective.

    Smith’s article is well-worth reading.

    Thanks for referring me there.


    • Kathan Lewis
      Oct 27, 2010 @ 19:36:57

      I really like him. He’s just easy to read and his stories are sort of pastoral …not terribly deep, but enjoyable. Perfect for reading right before bed! I’ve read books from all of his series and I’ve liked them all.


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