Mark Twain on Writing: Graphic Quotes
Twain was a prolific dispenser of wit, wisdom, and sarcasm. Below are some choice Twainisms on writing.
“The rules governing literary require that the personages in a tale be alive, except in the cases of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.” ~Mark Twain
“The rules of literary art require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his take and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones.” ~Mark Twain
“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. that is the way to write English — it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in.” ~letter to D.W. Bowser, 20 March 1880
What was modern in 1880 isn’t modern anymore, but this advice is still good.
“When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them — then the rest will be valuable. they weaken when they are close together. they give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”
~letter to D.W. Bowser, 20 March 1880~letter to D.W. Bowser, 20 March 1880
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