good science writing

From good science writing, I expect good writing. OK — that sounds a bit snippish. But it’s true. So what’s good writing? It’s organized. I want science writing that is clearly organized — aesthetically pleasing in its organizational virtuosity.

I expect the writer to be a wordsmith and a poet — that means that if dark matter is impossible to understand, I expect the writer to work hard at finding a simile, a metaphor, an analogy that surprises me and teaches me at the same time. I want simplicity, complexity, depth — I want complications. I want honesty. I want the writer to know the science well enough so that he or she can simplify — and for the writer to be removed enough to give us perspective.

I want to be amazed and intrigued. I want to be taught with care — no patronizing and no talking over my head.

And I want the writer involved. Not sure why — but those are the pieces I’m most drawn to. OK, I’m so done.

***Comments on above freewriting done in class on 22 Aug. – 5 minute-freewriting: I forgot to talk about narrative. I also want a good story. The hero can be mitochondria and the villain can be protozoa. But I want conflict, tension, characters. Yes, I’m a fiction person. But good non-fiction relies on principles of fiction, too. I think that all of us agreed in our freewriting that we wanted good science. That is, the ethos or credibility of the writer depends on how well she or he presents the science — accurately.

 

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