Sunday, October 30, 2011

C. S. Lewis - Raad aan jong skrywers

In een van die briewe opgeneem in C. S. Lewis' Letters to Children gee Lewis vyf riglyne aan sy jong lesers, maar dis raad wat énige skrywer gerus ter harte kan neem. Dit herinner my ook aan advies wat Hennie Aucamp iewers gee & wat my altyd bygebly het: laat helder denke altyd jou styl rig.

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 plain 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 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.”
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.

Lyle Dorsett and Marjorie Lamp Mead (Samest.). 1996. C. S. Lewis’ Letters to Children. Scribner.