Saturday, March 3, 2012

Conan Doyle on Notes

I recently read Michael Dirda's On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling — don't ask me why, as I haven't read any Sherlock Holmes since turning twenty one. Nor do I intend to read any in the future. I guess it was "the whole art of story telling" that let me to buy the e-book. On that score, I was sorely disappointed, even though the book proved to be an interesting read. It made me forget the annoying continuously worsening conditions on the Boston "T" for two or three trips and that's not nothing. It also convinced me that adults who are fascinated by Sherlock Holmes to attend meetings, etc. are more thana bit peculiar. But I found these passages that are somewhat interesting:
Reading without note taking is as senseless as eating without digesting. It is easy to condense into a single page all that you really want to remember out of a big book, and there you have it for reference for ever. When you have done that systematically, for five years, you will be surprised at the extraordinary amount of available information which you can turn upon any subject, all at the cost of very little trouble (80).
It would be difficult to disagree with this sentiment.

Conan Doyle "built up an extensive archive of letters, papers, clippings, and memoranda. One early biographer counted sixty scrapbooks alone" (80). He also kept a pocket diary.

His rules for writing:
  1. The first requisite is to be intelligible.
  2. The second is to be interesting.
  3. The third is to be clever.
These could be mine, though I am struggling (especially with the third one).


Rich said...

Thanks for this. Good advice on note taking and writing.


James said...

I second that, great passage. Thank you for sharing that.