Want to write better science papers? Edit, read quality, and tell a story.

A nice little article in Forbes magazine on  improving your writing, part of a continuing series. Business mags are full of useful tips. After all, they work in the real world, they expect results**.

Takehomes?

  1. If you want to write better, offer to edit manuscripts of your friends. Mistakes which look perfectly good when you make them stare out accusingly from manuscripts you are editing.
  2. Read more? Sure, but not if what you are reading is crap. Read the greats, and some of it will make its way into your writing.
  3. Even if it isn’t fiction, it is. Every manuscript you write is a story. The great unknown. The noble attempt to push back the boundaries of ignorance. The mistakes made along the way. The hard-won conclusions. The horizon beckoning in the future. Good writing is good teaching is good story-telling.

**Ghostbusters, one of the great films about academia, in a backwards sort of way. I remember sitting in a theat34 in Ft. Collins Colorado, taking a break from the ESA meetings, when I heard a line which changed my life:

Dr Ray Stantz: Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything! You’ve never been out of college! You don’t know what it’s like out there! I’ve *worked* in the private sector. They expect *results*.

 

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2 Responses to Want to write better science papers? Edit, read quality, and tell a story.

  1. Heidi Carter says:

    This is priceless….

  2. mycoignofvantage reblogged this on Mycoignofvantage's Blog and commented: Being a student right now and in the last 3 weeks of the semester, this reminded me of when I attempted to go into Professional Writing. It was a complete waste of time as a degree and I am far more creative a thinker without professional coaching. Just as this cartoon illustrates!

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