Incantations

Writing Patterns

The corners of the Internet that I frequent are thick with writing advice, and I recently came across a few really good “what not to do” posts. It sent me trolling through my old bookmarks for posts in a similar vein, and when I started thinking about putting a set of links together for a post on Wetmachine, it occurred to me that (keeping in mind one of the purported themes of this blog, the intersection between writing prose and developing software) one of the reasons they are so appealing is that they are in a sense, a set of anti-patterns for fiction.

Design Patterns is of course the seminal work by the so-called “Gang of Four” that described a small set of elegant solutions to common software problems. It’s somewhere between a box of assorted legos and one of those kits that comes with exact instructions for how to make some complicated model — or perhaps more accurately, it’s a set of base folds for software origami. Anyway, it created a vocabulary for certain useful software designs and has not only provided fodder for more than a decade of entry-level interviews but also spawned the idea of the anti-pattern — the designs that are just as commonly used in the wild, but shouldn’t be.
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