Re: RARA-AVIS: The Marlowe Paradigm

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 08 Dec 2002

----- Original Message ----- From: "Dave" <>

> You can learn a lot from bad writing also - even if you're not
> consciously aware of it. My first job out of school I had to support and
> enhance the most godawful piece of code you could ever imagine. This was
> 6800 assembly code, the source listings stacked up were about 5 feet
> high, and not a comment anywhere. There was no effort in the design to
> make the code extensible or capable of debugging. And of course any
> attempt at simplicity was ignored - the orginal developers strived for
> the most complex methods possible. I got all my gray hair at about 22
> trying to work with that code, but I learned a lot about how not to
> write software, how important it is to focus on simplicity and on
> building code that can be extended and debugged. As awful an experience
> as it was working on that code, it was probably the best experience I
> could've had to help me understand what not to do.
> I guess this was a longwinded (and probably uninteresting to anyone
> outside of software development) example of how sometimes you can learn
> the most from bad stuff. And to some degree I think you're influenced by
> everything you read. It may not change your voice, but you may pick up
> different ways (or not)of plotting, of (or not) shifting scenes, etc.

My problem, I guess, is that I'm unlikely to read very much of a book that I consider badly written.


# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 08 Dec 2002 EST