Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fantastic Writing Advice From C.S. Lewis


The following was written by author, C.S. Lewis, to a young fan.  Taken from A Collection of Brilliant and Inspiring Letters From Famous Authors to Their Young Fans:
What really matters is:–
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’timplement 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.
Thanks for the photos. You and Aslan both look v. well. I hope you’ll like your new home.
With love
C.S. Lewis
Check out Flavorwire for more fantastic general advice from famous authors.  
Many of the advice can be posted in your own classroom as inspiration & motivation for your students!  :)


  1. I went to the website and read the rest of the letters and actually teared up a little. I love authors who respect their fans, but I also love the responses from children who find comfort in novels.

    Thanks for the link!


    1. Weren't they amazing? I agree. The letters from fans were sweet and responses from the authors were very sympathetic and heartfelt. I loved it, which is why I shared it! :) Thanks for stopping by, Amanda!