A well wisher who, I am sure, would rather not be publicly acknowledged, sent me a link to a remarkable article on writing. I am sending that link in this post to my readers most of whom are writers of blogs too.
The main take away for writers from the article, which are part of the article are:
i. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
ii. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
iii. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
iv. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
v. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
vi. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
My sincere gratitude to the well wisher.
11 thoughts on “Writing.”
Good tips which I learned in Writing Workshops over the years. Simplicity is best. I admire writers who achieve this clarity.
In which case may I recommend Hemingway to you. The writers’ writer. Though, most likely, you, WWW, judging by some of what you write about men, do detest the man. Who is to say. Detest the man. Admire the writer.
I thought that you would appreciate the article.
isn’t it strange? I have been a minimalist and a lover of simplicity all my life. and I dearly love Haiku.
a college English prof once told me my biggest problem is …
I’m in love with WORDS.
And that often leads to unnecessary words in our writings!
In his early years my father was a journalist. He was at the sharp end (investigative journalism). He was also classically educated (Greek and Latin), as indeed am I. This is not to boast – for those who can’t distinguish between fact and, well, boasting.
When in my teens, my father pulled down my prose, any essay, anything I brought home from school, even if a teacher deemed my efforts an A Plus. Mercilessly. Declaring my teachers names I’d rather not put down in writing here. I took it stoically. I listened. Properly listened. I learnt a lot. I am grateful to this day. Luckily, eventually, like three hours later, my mother came in, saying to her husband “I think that’s enough”.
Someone with lesser self esteem which I appear to have had from the word go may have wilted under the onslaught. I didn’t. Lucky me.
To put it at its most basic: “Dog bit man” doesn’t make a headline. “Man bit dog” does.
Once you do know all the “rules” of how to pare it down that’s when you are allowed to take liberties. Develop your own style. Preferably not convoluted. But even that has its place. Once upon a time (I think it was in blogland – that most unforgiving narrow minded audience you may have the misfortune to encounter) someone said of me: “Who even talks like that?” To which I replied: “I do.”.
That is quite an interesting look into your background Ursula. Yes, it is obvious that you have learnt a lot from a martinet writer father.
Having once been a journalist for six years, and having blogged for almost 13 years, all those principles are very familiar to me. I’m amazed at the number of writers who ignore them all and continue to churn out long-winded, flowery, over-detailed prose which is utterly laborious to read.
I didn’t know about your journalistic experience. Your ability with the pen now makes sense.
I just do my best…and if you don’t like it, b*gg*r off…my early learning skills were regularly interrupted when I was often away from school, ill. It’s not an excuse, it’s just a plain and simple fact…
Catherine de Seton recently posted..3 months off …
A great approach and as long as your readers do not complain, why not?
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