Top Twain Tips from Trafford (Part 2)

 

Welcome back as Trafford Publishing Author’s Corner brings you the final four points that enabled Mark Twain to become one of the most distinguished writers of all time.

 “Substitute damn every time you’re inclined to write very; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” In other words, when feel the need to put the word very in front of an adjective, don’t! If you are using the term to denote something that is actual or real, by all means, use it. For example: “The very dress that was once worn by the Queen.”

 “Damnation (if you will allow the expression), get up & take a turn around the block & let the sentiment blow off you. Sentiment is for girls. . . . There is one thing I can’t stand and won’t stand, from many people. That is, sham sentimentality.”  This quote should make everybody laugh considering there is obviously profound sentiment behind it. Essentially, Twain is trying to say that, you as the writer, shouldn’t allow your own sentiment into the story. Note that, you are still allowed to convey sentiment in your content, as long as it not your own.

 

“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.” When writing, authors sometimes have a tendency to create style in their work, disregarding the interests of the reader. Although verbosity may sound good to the author, readers like to read stuff that is direct and concise. Use the K.I.S.S principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid. Prune the redundant. Brevity is the key.   

“The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say.” In a fast paced world driven by deadlines, we don’t all have time to put Twain’s words into practice.However, it is still tremendously useful to think about what he is trying to say. Once you have a finished your piece there is often one or more things that you can add or tweak in order to make your story more solid or sound.

Stay tuned – Trafford will return with more author advice shortly. In the meantime, you can visit us on Facebook here.

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