Monday, March 12, 2018

Lagniappe: 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.
Letter to Joan Lancaster, June 26, 1956
C.S. Lewis, Letters to Children
I guess this is lagniappe only if you are not a writer. Although we could all use it when wondering why a book isn't grabbing us the way it should. Perhaps we're being asked to do the writer's job.

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