CS Lewis is best known for the The Chronicles of Narnia, which has been adapted into a series of blockbuster movies. He lived during an era where mass media did not exist yet and readers normally corresponded with him via hand written letters. One young writer wrote Lewis and wanted to get advice on how to become better at his craft. Lewis responded, but the content was hidden, until today.
- 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.
- Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
- Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died“ don’t say “mortality rose.“
- 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 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.”
- 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.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.