Friday, April 13, 2012

5 tips for writing from C.S. Lewis

I read an article today wherein a letter from C.S. Lewis to one of his fans was described. They listed the following 5 rules as Lewis recommended them to the young person who had written him for advice regarding her own WIP. I thought the rules were worth sharing with you:

  1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn'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 you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was "terrible," describe it so that we'll be terrified. Don't say it 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.
Good advice for any writer to live by. Thanks, C.S. We'll take these rules to heart.

In other news, I did NOT see the fabled Matt Smith and Karen Gillan... although they did arrive on set later that evening... around 10:30 p.m. with 1,200 other fans all clamoring for their attention... Yeah, I left earlier... because it's a long train ride home and because while I LOVE Doctor Who, I'm just not that kind of girl. If they had been there earlier I would have been excited... sigh... how complacent I have become.

Although... if I had been waiting for THE Doctor, not the man who plays him on TV, I would have stayed until he came and happily run away with him in the T.A.R.D.I.S. Ya know? If only...

Photo from Wikipeida


  1. The CS Lewis rules are great. I can't disagree with any of them.

    I love Doctor Who too, but I don't think I could stand to watch it filmed. I'm impressed.

    I'd like to give you the Liebster Blog Award, after Kathy McKendry nominated you.

    Dave Wrote This

  2. Sounds like good writing tips. Bummer about Dr. Who though.

  3. Great tips - as I would expect from such a master! I especially love the last one, saving the big words for when they really matter.

  4. I'm sorry you didn't get to see The Doctor. All the Doctor Who events at Dragon*Con were crazy packed with people waiting in line for hours.

  5. Those are great tips. Thanks for sharing.


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