How to Write: 5 tips from Umberto Eco

“What’s the best way to start?” What should be dropped and what should be discarded? What style would you choose? – Answers to these and other questions in our material

The brilliant scientist and author Umberto Eco answered these and other questions in his essay “How do I write”, in which his author defined “his kitchen.” Here are five quote tips for every day.

Narrative principle

“When I defended my thesis on the aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, I admired one of my opponents, Augusto Gozo, who subsequently published my work without any changes. In his opinion, a serious scholar who went through all stages of my research in a detective manner, that is, was later rejected during the course of study, including False assumptions, it only provides a conclusion. Results for the audience. Yes, I agree, I said that my dissertation was written exactly the same way, but I do not see it as a defect. Moreover, at that moment, I instilled in the confidence that any scientific work should be “told” with this Method. And then I tried not to deviate from my style. ”

Whether you are writing a research paper or making a business presentation, present your material in an enjoyable way. Tell us the stages you had to go through, the ideas that were brought up, and how the conclusions were drawn. It is not necessary to create material on the principle of detective as Eko does in his thesis, but if there is a clear narration in the document (speaking, oral story), this greatly simplifies the matter for you and your readers or listeners.

My tongue is my friend

Always pay attention to your language and style. If you are writing a scientific paper, you need some words, and a formal business letter – others. What audience are you reaching? For students in the class, for fellow office workers, or for a respected professor? Unfortunately, there is often a mixture of styles: a business vocabulary diluted with colloquial colloquial, and bureaucracy diluted in scientific jargon. The result is the same: everyone has confusion.



“Just because the writer creates a world for a language, or a language for a world, does not mean that he spent several years creating a world in a segment of the story that will take place. <…> The main elements of this structure are constraints and time series.”


“Have I greatly exceeded (never exceeded) my size?” Open up the questions, but again: too many drift and postpone the end, boring your readers and listeners. Neither good language nor good expression can save you here. But the restrictions are good in moderation, and it is not worth reducing the size too much. Brevity isn’t always the brother of talent.

Preparation, preparation and more preparation

The novel requires a lot of preparation. I read first, drew cards, drew portraits, floor maps, and timelines. ”

Text or speech quality depends on texture group. Even if something is not used, this information will definitely not be superfluous to you. The better you prepare, the more pleasant and enjoyable your work will be.


Correct if needed

“The good thing about computers is that it encourages spontaneity: Whatever comes to mind, you can write it down right away. But you also know that all of this is easy to repair and replace.”

Umberto Eco witnessed a scientific and technological revolution at the end of the last century. Most of his novels were printed on the first personal computers. It (in addition to laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other gadgets) greatly simplifies our present life with you. Most importantly, you can return to writing, reviewing and editing this or that text at any time. The main thing is not to be lazy to do this. Technology to help us.


And finally, another quote from Umberto Eco:

“We write one thing for ourselves: a shopping list so we don’t forget what we’re buying, but after coming back from the store, we tear it up and throw it away unnecessarily. We write another text to say something to someone.”

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