Saturday, May 21, 2011

NY Times: Writing Advice from the Supremes

Below one of my co-bloggers mentions interviews on writing with Supreme Court Justices, originally published in Scribes.  The New York Times now has an extensive article on these interviews.  (hat tip: Sarah Ricks)

What I find most interesting is that the judges mostly cite novelists as role models.  While narrative is important in briefs, especially the fact sections, fiction is fundamentally different than opinion writing.   For one thing, novelists try to hide the ending, while a judge's role is to be as clear as possible.  Also, a novelist emphasizes flowery language, while a judge should stress clarity in language.  Finally, novelists generally expand on character, scene, etc., as much as possible, while briefs should be as succinct as possible.


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