Sunday, May 8

On being 85% right...

I remember the first time I was aware of reading a professionally published book and finding a typo. It was a Stephen King novel and I was at summer camp. I found the misspelled word, and even though I knew it was wrong, I reread it again and again, and finally looked it up in a dictionary just to confirm what I already knew.

Today, I almost wish that more words in some of the things I read were misspelled. It would remind me that the author is imperfect, and I should take his or her thoughts in the appropriate light.

This reasoning made me reflect upon some of my own rules for writing.

Rule 1: When describing about the uknown future, shoot for 85% accuracy. Aiming for higher than that makes you boring, and lower than that makes you just another industry hack.

Rule 2: When describing about the present or inevitable future, be specific enough so that it is obvious when you are wrong. This can be embarrassing in the short term, but what learning isn't?

Rule 3: Let people know if you are describing the first or the second.


Unnikrishnan said...

Dear Clark,

I know I am quibbling, but I just could not pass up commenting about the 'uknown' future in a piece that starts by reflecting on misspelled words.

I work as a content developer with Tata Interactive Systems, and I am part of the team that develops business simulations. I do read your posts frequently. Thanks for the insights.


Clark Aldrich said...

I hate to quibble, but that is a typo, not a mispelling!

As one who has done and will do a huge amount of both, I want to make that clear!

Clark Aldrich said...

mispelling, meanwhile, was a misspelling.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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