The Great Pains & Accuracy Tour

beedge - 10:39am Jun 21, 2001 EST
Barrett Golding

The Great Precision vs. Accuracy Tour

author David Quammen thinks about the diff between Precision vs. Accuracy when writing. you look at a field of deer. if you write: "there were about 10 deer," that's accurate, but not precise. if you guess and say "there were 10 deer," that's precise but not accurate. DQ is a science writer; he says he always goes for accuracy. I told him I don't would gladly sacrifice accuracy, were a little precision to add to the flow to a phrase. I'll often suffer the inaccuracy just to eliminate two sylables of narration ("about," "nearly," "close to" "more than," "almost," etc.).

I worry more about getting a portrait's composition right, finding the right frame, than getting an accurate picture. a slightly inaccurate precision.

here's an excerpt from a dream a woman once told me: "on the hillside were a field of cattle. there were many of them. many more than seven." now, wtf is up with the "many more than seven." a specific precision within an amorphous accuracy? that's for the dream to know, and for her to find out.

maybe i'll eem DQ to see if he'll get his Famous-Author-Ass down to Transom and comment on my inaccurate description of his imprecision.

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