Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More advice for writers

I'm an Indo-phile and I had heard the name of V S Naipaul but I know little about him.  Amazon has some of his books.  Boingboing recently linked to advice by Naipaul for writers. At India Uncut, we learn those rules.  There are only seven rules so I want to be cautious about excerpting them.

Four of his "Rules for Beginners" emphasize simplicity.  Sentences should be short, don't use big words, avoid adjectives and adverbs and avoid the abstract.  I write too many run-on sentences so I can see value in his advice (this sentence is too long, by his standards).  My sentences, with their numerous clauses and asides, need to be trimmed.  Still, I enjoy reading new words, ones that stretch my vocabulary.  I understand that there can be exceptions to rules; and I will proudly break some of these.

The final rule allows you to moderate the ones above - but only after long ("six months at least") practice.  "You may go beyond these rules after you have throughly understood and mastered them."

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