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Asimov on Writing

In Chapter 66 ("Prolificity") of his autobiography I. Asimov: A Memoir Isaac Asimov explains how he writes:

... I see a story or an article or a book as a pattern and not just as a succession of words. I know exactly how to fit each item in the piece into the pattern, so that it is never necessary for me to work from an outline. Even the most complicated plot, or the most intricate exposition, comes out properly, with everything in the right order.

I rather imagine that a grand master in chess sees a chess game as a pattern, rather than as a succession of moves. A good baseball manager probably sees the game as a pattern rather than as a succession of plays. Well, I see patterns too in my specialty ...

Shortly thereafter Asimov discusses the deceptive simplicity of his work:

Of course, it also helps if you don't try to be too literary in your writing. If you try to turn out a prose poem, that takes time ...

I have therefore deliberately cultivated a very plain style, even a colloquial one, which can be turned out rapidly and with which very little can go wrong. Of course, some critics, with crania that are more bone than mind, interpret this as my having "no style." If anyone thinks, however, that it is easy to write with absolute clarity and no frills, I recommend that he try it.


(cf. HowToWrite (2000-11-28), MichaelVentris (2002-07-10), IsaacAsimov (2007-11-28), ...) - ^z - 2008-02-02


(correlates: VeryGood, GreatestInvention, LineariZation, ...)