The advantage of the second is there is more room for pictures.
My school is exploring eBooks and I'm fascinated with my discovery that eTextBook pages are hyper-textually interactive. Click on a word and you see a picture of it (or something equally as interesting: map, original text, sidebar articles, etc).
The effectiveness of expression is a paramount consideration in non-fiction writing. Terseness is often better than prolixity when you are trying to express an idea. But fiction is, or should be, more than just story telling. Florid writing can be, as that first article points out, beautiful and even exciting if it's good.
The purely aesthetic element of writing is important and should not be ignored.
tandfman wrote: Florid writing can be, as that first article points out, beautiful and even exciting if it's good.
'Florid Writing'? Ah yes, also called Pule Prose. to wit, a rceent award winner:
"When he heard about the empurpled contest on Query Tracker, the coils of dark, multitudinous hair which made up his eyebrows knit together in fury, like a spry grandmother’s knitting needles, clicking incessantly and rapidly, the sun’s rays illuminating them with a silver gleam, like the gleam of a young child’s brand new bicycle bedecked in all its glory with lemon-colored streamers and chiffon paint with stripes of lavender that shimmered like the violet hue of his eyes which were now thoughtful; the wrinkles around his wide, pupil-inhabited orbs seemed pensive as he considered how he might win Query Tracker’s contest and emerge a champion like a magnificent Olympic sports-star—but not like Greg Luganis because he hit his head—instead his own powerful kind of win—the kind to fill a man’s soul with joy to overflowing like a large bowl of Rocky Road ice cream with ostentatious helpings of steaming hot fudge, but not butterscotch because it would contrast with the rich hues of the chocolate which was so sweet as would be his joy when he won—like a bareback rider in the National Rodeo Finals hanging on for dear life to a fraying strap of yellowed rope—he imagined this with fervor, gripping the gleaming pen in his hand as he began to write."
From a little after two oclock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that--a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed that light and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on that side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes full of dust motes which Quentin thought of as being flecks of the dead old dried paint itself blown inward from the scaling blinds as wind might have blown them. There was a wisteria vine blooming for the second time that summer on a wooden trellis before one window, into which sparrows came now and then in random gusts, making a dry vivid dusty sound before going away: and opposite Quentin, Miss Coldfield in the eternal black which she had worn for forty-three years now, whether for sister, father, or nothusband none knew, sitting so bolt upright in the straight hard chair that was so tall for her that her legs hung straight and rigid as if she had iron shinbones and ankles, clear of the floor with that air of impotent and static rage like children's feet, and talking in that grim haggard amazed voice until at last listening would renege and hearing-sense self-confound and the long-dead object of her impotent yet indomitable frustration would appear, as though by outraged recapitulation evoked, quite inattentive and harmless, out of the biding and dreamy and victorious dust.
Hemingway, the model of terse prose, didn't win the Nobel for nuttin! Of course, so did the overly ornate Faulkner. Steinbeck - straightforward TS Eliot - allusively obscure to the max
Writing is a picture window into the psyche. Fiction is autobiographical to the extreme.
I like this:
JKonrad in HoD wrote:It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention.
Hemingway in HLWE wrote:They sat down at the table and the girl looked across at the hills on the dry side of the valley and the man looked at her and at the table. "You've got to realize," he said, "that I don't want you to do it if you don't want to. I'm perfectly willing to go through with it if it means anything to you." "Doesn't it mean anything to you? We could get along." "Of course it does. But I don't want anybody but you. I don't want any one else. And I know it's perfectly simple." "Yes, you know it's perfectly simple." "It's all right for you to say that, but I do know it." "Would you do something for me now?' "I'd do anything for you.' "Would you please please please please please please please Stop talking." He did not say anything but looked at the bags against the wall of the station. There were labels on them from all the hotels where they had spent nights.
Part I It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
Part II A light snow was falling, and the little girl with the tattered shawl had not sold a violet all day. At that very moment, a young intern at City Hospital was making an important discovery. The mysterious patient in Room 213 had finally awakened. She moaned softly. Could it be that she was the sister of the boy in Kansas who loved the girl with the tattered shawl who was the daughter of the maid who had escaped from the pirates? The intern frowned. “Stampede!” the foreman shouted, and forty thousand head of cattle thundered down on the tiny camp. The two men rolled on the ground grappling beneath the murderous hooves. A left and a right. A left. Another left and right. An uppercut to the jaw. The fight was over. And so the ranch was saved. The young intern sat by himself in one corner of the coffee shop. He had learned about medicine, but more importantly, he had learned something about life.
Don't know if this fits this thread's theme, but here's two "Beat"-type evocations of "the quiet lives of desperate men".
From Allen Ginsberg ("First Thought, Best Thought"):
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz......"
From Bob Dylan ("And if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine...."):
"Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're trying to be so quiet? We sit here stranded, though we're all doing our best to deny it. And Louise holds a handful of rain, tempting you to defy it. Lights flicker from the opposite loft. In this room the heat pipes just cough. The country music station plays soft. But there's nothing, really nothing to turn off. Just Louise and her lover so entwined. And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind."
bambam wrote:Or this from James Joyce: "Snow was general all over Ireland."
And a few lines later: "Snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."
Trying to say what might be one's favorite sentence in all the literature one has ever read or heard is an impossibility of course, but this sentence by Joyce would be near the top of the list for me. (And, thanks for reminding me of it -- hadn't read this story or thought of this in a long time.)
tandfman wrote:Has anyone ever started a novel more effectively than Dickens, when he wrote the first lines of A Tale of Two Cities ?
From Cheers - Frazier trying to teach them class by reading from great books:
Frazier: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times Norm: Well, wait a minute, which one was it? Frazier (scornful look - goes on): , it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. Cliff: Boy, this Dickens guy sure knows how to cover his butt!
Although the Joyce stuff is great from The Dead, how about the opening paragraphs of Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis:
THE TOWERS of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods. They were neither citadels nor churches, but frankly and beautifully office-buildings.
The mist took pity on the fretted structures of earlier generations: the Post Office with its shingle-tortured mansard, the red brick minarets of hulking old houses, factories with stingy and sooted windows, wooden tenements colored like mud. The city was full of such grotesqueries, but the clean towers were thrusting them from the business center, and on the farther hills were shining new houses, homes—they seemed—for laughter and tranquility.
tandfman wrote:Has anyone ever started a novel more effectively than Dickens, when he wrote the first lines of A Tale of Two Cities ?
I'm completely biased, but this, very near the beginning, always gets to me:
Marlow wrote:The sea-reach of the Thames stretched before us like the beginning of an interminable waterway. In the offing the sea and the sky were welded together without a joint, and in the luminous space the tanned sails of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red clusters of canvas sharply peaked, with gleams of varnished sprits. A haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing flatness. The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth.
Turning to non-fiction, who has written more powerful words than these:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
tandfman wrote:Turning to non-fiction, who has written more powerful words than these:
Four score and seven years ago
I thought Tommy J did an OK job here:
DoI wrote:When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Let's see if I can get this back on track (no wait--this is supposed to be Not Track).
Here's another bit of eloquence from Mr. Lincoln, this from his first inaugural address:
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory stretching from every battlefield and patriotic grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.