Monday, May 01, 2006

I was out of town on Sunday without internet access, here is my blog for Sunday, April 30th

Style Lesson 10: Ethics

In the Style lesson ten, Williams focuses on the ethics of writing, “we owe our readers to be clear” he tells writers (178). We must always write for others just like we would like for them to write for us. It is understood that not everything can be broken down into simple language; however it is the writer’s duty to not write ideas so complex that the reader has to work too hard to understand the ideas. If you do this, a writer can “risk losing what writers since Aristotle have called a reliable ethos- the character that readers infer from your writing” (179). A writer’s ethos is what comes to be their reputation. In Williams’ terms it is unethical to write as you would not wish to read. He cautions to not over simplify your writing because in that case it is rather insulting to the readers and you can loose the meaning of your ideas/words. Readers do not owe writers their time to decipher knowledge, that’s not why most readers read, they read to get the ideas that you are bring forth.

Complexity can arguably seen as both good and bad for readers. In a negative sense, it can cause the reader to not get the true idea of a writer and get lost in the attempts to understand the work. Positively, complexity can make a reader think outside the box and have a new understanding of ideas. The overall message that Williams delivers is “we write well when we would willingly experience what our readers do when they read what we have written,” this advice is the first rule for writers in ethical writing (198).


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