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Key Texts – Writing as Practice

1.  Goldsmiths, K. (2011) Uncreative Writing: Redefining Language and Authorship in the Digital Age. Columbia University Press.

Can techniques traditionally thought to be outside the scope of literature, including word processing, databasing, identity ciphering, and intensive programming, inspire the reinvention of writing? The Internet and the digital environment present writers with new challenges and opportunities to reconceive creativity, authorship, and their relationship to language. Confronted with an unprecedented amount of texts and language, writers have the opportunity to move beyond the creation of new texts and manage, parse, appropriate, and reconstruct those that already exist.

In addition to explaining his concept of uncreative writing, which is also the name of his popular course at the University of Pennsylvania, Goldsmith reads the work of writers who have taken up this challenge. Examining a wide range of texts and techniques, including the use of Google searches to create poetry, the appropriation of courtroom testimony, and the possibility of robo-poetics, Goldsmith joins this recent work to practices that date back to the early twentieth century. Writers and artists such as Walter Benjamin, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Andy Warhol embodied an ethos in which the construction or conception of a text was just as important as the resultant text itself. By extending this tradition into the digital realm, uncreative writing offers new ways of thinking about identity and the making of meaning.

2. Popova, M. (2013) Brainpickings.org (Internet) Available at: <http://www.brainpickings.org/ >[Accessed 10.12.2103]

‘Brain Pickings is the brain child of Maria Popova, an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large, who has also written for Wired UK, The New York Times, Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, and The Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.’ (http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/about/)

3. Sword, H. (2012) Stylish Academic Writing. Harvard University Press

‘Elegant data and ideas deserve elegant expression, argues Helen Sword in this lively guide to academic writing. For scholars frustrated with disciplinary conventions, and for specialists who want to write for a larger audience but are unsure where to begin, here are imaginative, practical, witty pointers that show how to make articles and books a pleasure to read—and to write. Dispelling the myth that you cannot get published without writing wordy, impersonal prose, Sword shows how much journal editors and readers welcome work that avoids excessive jargon and abstraction. Sword’s analysis of more than a thousand peer-reviewed articles across a wide range of fields documents a startling gap between how academics typically describe good writing and the turgid prose they regularly produce.

Stylish Academic Writing showcases a range of scholars from the sciences, humanities, and social sciences who write with vividness and panache. Individual chapters take up specific elements of style, such as titles and headings, chapter openings, and structure, and close with examples of transferable techniques that any writer can master.’ –

4.  Lupton, E. and Miller, J.A. (2008) Design Writing Research: Writing on Graphic Design. Phaidon London, New York.

‘As a college student I have found this book to be a remarkable collection of thoughts and essays on the subject of graphic design. Covering a wide variety of topics from ancient Greek boustrophedon to Deconstruction and modern pictography it is a helpful, informative and enjoyable read. Ellen Lupton ‘knows her stuff’ and provides an insightful journy through the world of graphic design. Whether you’re a fellow student, design enthusiast or avid reader you should read this book. You won’t regret it.’- donnatello2@hotmail.com

5. Strunk, W. Jr. (2012 )The Elements of Style. CreateSpace

This classic reference is a must-have for any student or writer. In this brief handbook, Strunk identifies the principal requirements of proper American English style and concentrates on the most often violated rules of composition. Authoritative and engagingly written, this is simply the greatest book of its kind. “The Elements of Style,” by William Strunk, is a prescriptive American English writing style guide comprising eight “elementary rules of usage,” ten “elementary principles of composition,” “a few matters of form,” a list of forty-nine “words and expressions commonly misused,” and a list of fifty-seven “words often misspelled.” This reprint reproduces the text of the 1920 edition. This authoritative and engagingly written manual retains its immediacy and relevance. Strunk begins with the basic rules of usage, offering explanations of correct punctuation and grammar. Covers grammar, diction, syntax, sentence construction and other basic writing essentials.

6. Sword, H. (2013) Stylish Academic Writing | Office of Faculty Development & Diversity [Internet] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQsRvAVSVeM [Accessed 10.12.2103]

7. Editorially (2013) edorially.com (Internet) Available at: <https://www.editorially.com/docs> [Accessed 10.12.2103]

‘Editorially’s web-based interface lets you invite “collaborators” to any document to provide generalized, “top level” feedback (delivered in a separate threaded view, sort of like a tiny shared blog or chat). For changes to the draft itself, Editorially uses version control and comments rather than Word-style “track changes”—a decision partly inspired by collaborative programming tools like Github, according to Brown. “You don’t need to micromanage the editing process—just you need to see changes and conduct your discussion in a light-handed way,” she says. “Editorially’s model is more about conversation than command and control. Instead of reviewing every edit and unflagging it, we should be talking about what we’re doing and why.”

8. Francis, P. (2011) Inspiring Writing in Art and Design: Taking a Line for a Write. Intellect, London

‘Inspiring Writing in Art and Design is an excellent resource for all those who wish to engage art, design and media students in the practice of writing […] I would highly recommend Dr. Francis’s generous and inspiring book. ‘ – Jac Cattaneo, Networks Magazine, ADM-HEA

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