Elements of Strunk
, a predictive text rewrite of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style
. (In other words, the product of a computer algorithm that analyzes the original text, predicts which words are most likely to follow which other words, and uses this information to create new sentences in the style of the original, if I'm understanding this correctly.)
The resulting rewrite consists a number of pronouncements about writing that range from the semi-sensible (Do not use italics, with their penal definiteness, that plague of English prose
), to the surreal (A comma should not pay any attention to Boston
), to the philosophical (Of course, to be properly enjoyed, the paragraph has to be regarded as a man whom the writer desires to tell a story
There are bits of accidental profundity: It is interesting to recall how much confidence is required only to be young and inexperienced.A rule of history is that what you see in a man is usually only what he cannot see.
And there are bits that are simply glorious nonsense: The most useful kind of paragraph is The Possessive Jesus Of Composition And Publication.A paragraph by The Whigs Of the City is an old mansion. In the old mansion is a portrait of Benjamin Paragraph, grandson of William Word.
There are passages that hint at an intriguing story: This is in the old days. It was forbidden to export gold to authors in a state of escape. It was forbidden to write Charles's Letter or to use a conjunction.He could never forgive his own body for something it was forbidden to do. For this reason, he is studying French literature and other forms of escape that can sometimes be used to avoid the subject of his treachery.
And there are moments when the algorithm becomes positively threatening:The fact that I am in the house should always be remembered if you are on the roof and if you like to use italics. If you intend to use italics with this problem of a hostile character in the house, be careful not to use them without preamble
.This sentence will probably be misused by a man who God tried to avoid making.
I really, really want somebody to write fic based on this text, although I have absolutely no idea what it would look like (and it will, therefore, need to be written by somebody who isn't me).