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C.S. Lewis Writing Tips

30 November 2015

From NewAdvertising:

As it is CS Lewis’ birthday, it’s worth remembering his valuable #writingtips in a letter to a fan.

What really matters is:-

  1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence could’t mean anything else.
  2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
  3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean „More people died“ don’t say „mortality rose.“
  4. In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing your are describing. I mean , instead of telling us a thing was „terrible.“ describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t sa ita was „delightful“, make us say „delightful“ when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers. „Please will you do my job for me.“
  5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say „infinitely“ when you mean „very“, otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

Link to the rest at NewAdvertising

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5 Comments to “C.S. Lewis Writing Tips”

  1. Talk about a literary birthday … Lucy Ward Montgomery, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill. Any other notables out there for November 30th?

  2. #5 is my favorite.

    • Mine too. Too many people go to extremes for everyday things, and then get upset when you don’t think their latest ‘OMG’ is anything of importance because yesterday’s “OMG’ was them having a bad hair day, or they forgot to add sugar to their tea the day before …

  3. Always remember that tips like these are guidelines, not hard rules. Sometimes, for a special effect, it’s permissible to use the longest, most convoluted, precariously torturous, and labyrinthine construction instead of plain and direct language. It all depends on what effect you wish to provoke in your reader.

  4. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.

    “Keep” is probably an old English or Saxon word, while “implement” comes from French or Latin. The status of the words depended on where they came from. It’s still with us.

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