Thursday, 16 December 2010

How to write:

BBC4 is showing a (rather truncated) one-off adaptation of Douglas Adams's lesser-known but utterly wonderful novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

They had a profound effect on my philosophy and probably on my writing at the time. Here are some choice bits:
The door was the way to... to... The Door was The Way. Good. Capital letters were always the best way of dealing with things you didn't have a good answer to.
"What really is the point of trying to teach anything to anybody?" This question seemed to provoke a murmur of sympathetic approval from up and down the table.
Richard continued, "What I mean is that if you really want to understand something, the best way is to try and explain it to someone else. That forces you to sort it out in your mind. And the more slow and dim-witted your pupil, the more you have to break things down into more and more simple ideas. And that's really the essence of programming. By the time you've sorted out a complicated idea into little steps that even a stupid machine can deal with, you've learned something about it yourself. 

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