Friday, 4 April 2014
George Orwell On Writing
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:
What am I trying to say?
What words will express it?
What image or idiom will make it clearer?
Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
And he will probably ask himself two more:
Could I put it more shortly?
Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?
One can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:
Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where 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.
* From Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language."
The Daily Mail Penguin Random House First Novel competition Welcome to The Daily Mail Penguin Random House first novel competition. Before...
Categories Children’s , Drama , Fiction , General , Horror , Journalism , Mystery , Nonfiction , Personal Journals , Plays , Romance , Scien...
DISCOVER - New writing from Turkey and the UK Open call for short story writers The British Council in Turkey aims to build a bridge b...
North West Words has launched two 2017 English and Irish language adult poetry competitions sponsored by Aurivo and Ealaín na Gaeltachta. ...