For Calvino exactitude means three things:

(1) a well-defined and well-calculated plan for the work in question;

(2) an evocation of clear, incisive, memorable visual images;…

(3) a language as precise as possible both in choice of words and in expression of the subtleties of thoughts and imagination.

Calvino stresses the importance of exactitude because we live in a world inundated with words. Instead of creating meaning these words merely skim the surface of thought. They actually say nothing

Calvino asks for exactitude. He asks for meaning.

Calvino’s emblem for exactitude is the crystal. Because the crystal has “precise faceting and [an] ability to refract light”. Not only is the crystal precise, but it spreads information, or light.

One of my favorite books is A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith. Smith writes about a family moving to Florida from Georgia in 1858. They are hoping to find a better life.

Tobias MacIvey kicked the dry dirt with his worn brogan shoe. His black-bearded face showed sweat beneath the protection of a wide-brimmed felt hat, and his slim six-foot frame was dressed in a pair of badly faded overalls.

Smith uses as many adjectives as he can. This is important in a historical novel. Smith is retelling history. If he just used ambiguous language he would not recreate the setting very well. Every individual reader would fill in the details for themselves. By writing with exactitude, Smith is giving the reader a vivid picture of the past.

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