As a budding writer (or fledgling, it feels like most of the time), I find a lot of encouragement reading advice from other writers. I’ve recently gotten to know our neighbor Mike (a writer), who lent me Stephan King’s book, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. I adored his personality, which he used in an amusing way to create an unconventional book on writing.
And this morning I found, through a vast array of links, starting with a Publisher’s Weekly digest email, this article:
Collection of Brilliant and Inspiring Letters From Famous Authors to Their Young Fans
Included are letters from authors Harper Lee, Roald Dahl, Maurice Sendak, C.S. Lewis, Beatrix Potter, J.K. Rowling, and Harold Pinter.
In a letter from C.S. Lewis to a young fan, I particularly loved this piece of writing advice:
“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.”
This letter was originally posted on the blog Letters Of Note; Correspondence deserving of a wider audience, which is “an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos.” Hours will be lost on this blog, but I’ll risk that they’ll be well worth it!