Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rules for Writers

Courtesy of those who know a thing or two on the subject . . .

Don't write about Man, write about a man

-- E.B. White

Writing simply means no dependent clauses, no dangling things, no flashbacks, and keeping the subject near the predicate. We throw in as many fresh words as we can get away with. Simple, short sentences don't always work. You have to do tricks with pacing, alternate long sentences with short, to keep it vital and alive.

-- Theodor Seuss Geisel

Never use the passive when you can use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

-- George Orwell

Get black on white.

-- Guy de Maupassant

A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

-- Thomas Mann

The first discipline is the realization that there is a discipline – that all art begins and ends with discipline – that any art is first and foremost a craft.

-- Archibald MacLeish

The adjective is the enemy of the noun.

-- Voltaire

There is but one art . . . to omit. O' if I knew how to omit I would ask no other knowledge. A man who knew how to omit would make an Iliad of a daily paper.

-- Robert Louis Stevenson

If you keep working, inspiration comes.

-- Alexander Calder

The more particular, the more specific you are, the more universal you are.

-- Nancy Hale

Follow the accident, fear the fixed plan – that is the rule.

-- John Fowles

Don't say the old lady screamed – bring her on and let her scream.

-- Mark Twain

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