how to write

I have no idea how to write.  Not that that keeps me from doing it, but today my sentences have seemed particularly hard to control.  So I turn, as I always do, to the not particularly comforting advice of a true master technician:

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

Mark Twain, of course.  Modern editors are probably less fastidious than Mr. Clemens’, so substitute the politically-incorrect vulgarity of your choice for the relatively mild-mannered ‘damn’.

Twain also said “When you catch an adjective, kill it.”

I’m off to make dinner and read something spare and strong. Then maybe I’ll come back to my story and slaughter a few modifiers.

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One Response to how to write

  1. That’s great advice. No wonder he was such a great writer.

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