Tips on Writing from C.S. Lewis

Whenever I get a chance to write, C.S. Lewis’ tips on clarity prove helpful, despite the fact that they were originally written in response to a letter he received from a child.

Take heed:

  1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.
  2. Always prefer the clean direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
  3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.”
  4. In writing, don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us the thing is “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.”
  5. 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.
This entry was posted in C.S. Lewis, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tips on Writing from C.S. Lewis

  1. Katie Hintz says:

    I love this! Wish I had it when I was in school.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to more of your posts.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    So, so many preachers could benefit from this!

  4. Pingback: Sfaturi pentru cine scrie (bis) | NOTE & SCHIȚE

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