Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method

Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method

by Gerald Weinberg
     
 

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From its alliterative title, Weinberg on Writing, to the photographs of fieldstones introducing each chapter, to this recursive metaphor—that of constructing fieldstones into meaningful patterns: mailbox stands, walls, houses, sculptures, indeed, anything that can be built with fieldstones, this book on "constructing" writing, so to speak, is a delight. Its

Overview

From its alliterative title, Weinberg on Writing, to the photographs of fieldstones introducing each chapter, to this recursive metaphor—that of constructing fieldstones into meaningful patterns: mailbox stands, walls, houses, sculptures, indeed, anything that can be built with fieldstones, this book on "constructing" writing, so to speak, is a delight. Its author speaks from experience, having written over 40 books thus far; but more than that, he speaks conversationally and convincingly about a way to approach the all-too-often formidable task of writing.

Weinberg's controlling metaphor for this book on writing—the Fieldstone—allows the reader to realize that a single fieldstone is like a single idea; that fieldstones, like ideas, are not "uniform," and that, just as fieldstones "come in varying sizes, colors, textures, shapes, and densities," and lie everywhere waiting for us to collect and use them to some productive end, so do ideas. Through his "fieldstone" metaphor, Weinberg richly demonstrates that the human mind is not a straight thinker, but a mind-leaper, thus not "dependent on any particular order" to succeed in writing a book or article or story. The many photographs weaving their way through the book reinforce the power inherent in a "fieldstone" when it is used in the construction of a project, becoming dwellings, garden walls, anything useful, just as ideas pulled together in coherent fashion tell stories, instruct, clarify.

Most convincingly, rather than preaching to the reader about how to write, Weinberg shares his 40 years, not only of teaching, but of writing many of his own books and articles. The key to the Fieldstone Method is non-linearity. Thus, Weinberg speaks of such metaphor-enhancing processes as "gathering" (prospecting for idea-stones), discovering "anchor stones" (key words), and making piles of unused "stones" (to jump to another metaphor), "bits of string too short to use"— for later construction.

This productive "pile-making" is the most humorous—though simultaneously serious—aspect of the Fieldstone Method, which Weinberg refers to as the FLUB rule—the " For Later Use Bin." What you can't use in this book or article, put in a "bin" or folder on your desktop to use elsewhere, perhaps even to generate another, never-before-considered, project.

One of the best lines of Weinberg on Writing, and one every writer should commit to memory is, "I may run out of ideas, but I'll never run out of new combinations of ideas." In demystifying the mysterious process of writing through the consistent metaphoric grappling hook of "fieldstones" as "ideas" which float in and out of our consciousness, Weinberg has written a wise and warm book on overcoming the perils of trying to write. - Written by Gabriele Rico, Ph.D. author of the best-selling Writing the Natural Way

Editorial Reviews

California Bookwatch
an informed and informative instructional reference to the process and skill of effective writing. …introduces the reader to forty-four exercises and offers many insightful tactics. Weinberg On Writing is an excellent detailing of all the necessary steps to be taken amidst the attempts and struggles of writing a book. Weinberg enlightens the readers to many original and particular strategies rarely recognized or pursued. Weinberg On Writing is very strongly recommended to all aspiring aut
Howie Becker
Jerry Weinberg's lessons in writing are smart, funny, memorable, wise, engaging . . . and, most important, it is all stuff that works, it's practical. What more would you want? - Howie Becker, author of Writing for Social Scientists.
Jennifer Lawler
Part memoir, part how-to, Weinberg on Writing dispenses with the mysteries and misconceptions of craft and shows any writer how–and how not to–hone their skills. Weinberg's method of finding fieldstones with which to build your writing strikes me as one of the more effective metaphors for the writing craft I've ever seen. Weinberg also rightly places the emphasis on writing about what matters to you rather than perpetrating the old saw, 'Write what you know.'–author of Dojo
Norm Goldman
Weinberg displays his deep writing knowledge throughout the book's twenty chapters that commences with the most important of Weinberg's writing lesson where he states that you can write anything you wish in any style, however, it is imperative that you never attempt to write what you don't care about. On one level [the book] is highly readable and on another it is packed with excellent insights into how to effectively perfect the writing process with less pain and much more enjoyment.
Terra Ziporyn
I found it to be inspiring, uplifting, and affirming—valuable even for someone who thinks she knows how to write books. It was also breezy to read and full of the amusing anecdotes that I associate with all Jerry Weinberg's books. Of course, I also enjoyed having things that I have always done unconsciously identified and discovering that they were good ideas. Made me feel competent! - Terra Ziporyn, Novelist and co-author of The New Harvard Guide to Women's Health

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012173188
Publisher:
Gerald Weinberg
Publication date:
01/23/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
196
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

I've always been interested in helping smart people be happy and productive. To that end, I've published books on human behavior, including Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method, The Psychology of Computer Programming, Perfect Software and Other Fallacies, and an Introduction to General Systems Thinking. I've also written books on leadership including Becoming a Technical Leader, The Secrets of Consulting (Foreword by Virginia Satir), More Secrets of Consulting, and the four-volume Quality Software Management series.

I try to incorporate my knowledge of science, engineering, and human behavior into all of my writing and consulting work (with writers, hi-tech researchers, software engineers, and people whose life-situation could require the use of a service dog). I write novels about such people, including The Aremac Project, Aremac Power, Jigglers, First Stringers, Second Stringers, The Hands of God, Freshman Murders, Earth's Endless Effort, and Mistress of Molecules—all about how my brilliant protagonists produce quality work and learn to be happy. My books may be found as eBooks at <http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JerryWeinberg>; on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000AP8TZ8; and at Barnes and Noble.

Early in my career, I was the architect for the Project Mercury's space tracking network and designer of the world's first multiprogrammed operating system. I won the Warnier Prize, the Stevens Award, and the first Software Testing Professionals' Luminary Award, all for mu writing on software quality. I was also elected a charter member of the Computing Hall of Fame in San Diego and chosen for the University of Nebraska Hall of Fame.

But the "award" I'm most proud of is The book, The Gift of Time (Fiona Charles, ed.) written by my student and readers for my 75th birthday. Their stories make me feel that I've been at least partially successful at helping smart people be happy.

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