1. waitingforzion

    waitingforzion Banned

    Dec 13, 2009
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    Organization Problems

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by waitingforzion, Apr 9, 2014.

    Some of you seen the lack of clarity in some of my sample paragraphs. We have concluded that a major problem of mine is writing archaic constructions and focusing too much on rhythm before I have clarified my thoughts. But another problem I have is not being able to organize them.

    When I have something to write about that falls into a certain category, especially something I want to write about in a poetic way, I struggle to arrange my thoughts in a coherent fashion. So when I write my paragraphs, it looks like I am adding unnecessary information, when in reality I am cramming stuff in that belongs somewhere else. I need to figure out how to organize my thoughts correctly, so that when I write my paragraphs, they are clear and coherent, and I can play with syntax and combine the sentences in various way to change the rhythm without loosing anything.

    Does anyone have an idea of what I am talking about, and how I can correct it?
  2. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Jul 11, 2010
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    Near Sedro Woolley, Washington
    How much revising do you do? For some of us, organization and coherence comes with revision - reworking a passage over and over until it makes sense. This, of course, requires that you have the ability to read your own work objectively and dispassionately. That comes with experience, though what you've been doing here - posting bits of work and getting comments - must be helping you.

    It takes time and effort to develop organizational skills (just like anything else), so practice, practice, practice. Revise, revise, revise. Get in the habit of rereading and revising. I've written only about four lines of this post, and I've already revised it five times at least. (Yeah, that means I'm not good at organization, but at least I know it, and I try to fix it!)
  3. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Mar 9, 2010
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    I agree that it's about revision, lots and lots of it.

    I also notice that your post starting this thread was perfectly clean, clear, coherent, and well organized. It progressed from the background of what has already been discussed, to another problem that you'd like to discuss, to a description of the problem, to your goals related to that problem, to a request for advice. All neat and clear.

    Maybe the need for rhythm and poetry and lofty prose is distracting you from that good organization when you switch to more formal writing?

    If nothing else, this suggests that you should definitely start each piece of writing in this neat, clear style, even if you don't like that style. After you feel that you've gotten all of the needed concepts into it, then you could (if you insist :)) try to work on making it more poetic. And I suspect that if you come up with a new concept, you should edit it into the "plain" original, and then restart the poetry from that plain original.
  4. Burlbird

    Burlbird Contributor Contributor

    Dec 29, 2011
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    Somewhere Else
    I think that "learning how to organize your thoughts" is a painful process that's going to need some work :)

    Seriously, as others said, you sound perfectly coherent in this post - that means there is nothing wrong with your "thoughts", nor with the way you organize them through syntax. What could be your problem is the way you approach prose writing and poetry as essentially different, but insist on choosing the rhythm over of "organization". There is a conflict there, as I see it, which may come from that common, "cultural" mindset that positions prosaic and poetic as two opposed principles in writing - which is, of course, proven wrong as soon as you grab a narrative text which is not preoccupied with over-plotting. :) Your "mistake" may be that you are (maybe not consciously) trying to rebel against that, but not realizing the futility of this perceived "rebellion". People tend to forget the fact that both prose and poetry work from (and in) the same medium - language. While one could argue that prose tends towards mimetic and poetry towards, well, poetic, the tension between the two is inherently present in language itself. So the rhythm and melody you want to "hear" and the organization of "thought" that you want to convey must come naturally, from language itself.

    Maybe (and this is just my thought) a good starting point for you might be to understand that there is no inherent antagonism between poetic and prosaic. You can "say something clearly" and make it "sound beautiful" in the same time.

    Also, remember that mental processes and constructs cannot be directly conveyed - what you put in writing are constructs, systems and various levels of thought organization that become evident only through the process of expressing them, that is, through language as a filter (and some may argue, through narratives). This is the reason, for example, why you cannot translate a poem from one language to another. :)

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