No Framework for Old Men

You’ve run a bunch of OpenSees analyses with Concrete23 and developed some fragility functions. Now you need to write about it.

This blog occasionally addresses academic writing, e.g., here and here. While there’s a lot of good (and bad) writing advice out there, some of the best advice comes from outside engineering.

For example, I recently found this writing advice summarized from the authors’ interactions with Cormac McCarthy, the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist.

McCarthy’s most important tip is to keep it simple while telling a coherent, compelling story.

Savage, V. and Yeh, P. (2019)

I’ve read a couple of McCarthy’s books, not counting two unsuccessful attempts at Blood Meridian, which is pretty rough going. I don’t mind the lack of quotation marks and occasional dialogue in Spanish, but the plot is hard for me to follow.

Don’t get me wrong though, McCarthy’s work is amazing. I just don’t have the patience for Blood Meridian.

So, my point is, follow Cormac McCarthy’s writing advice–but don’t write like Cormac McCarthy. You want readers to understand the fragility curves you developed with Concrete23.

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