The free website to help new writers to develop, and to help talented writers get noticed and published Books
   
George Orwell Advises << Return To Main Site

 Welcome to the YouWriteOn Forum

**News Random House & Orion Editors to continue free reviews of YouWriteOn Top Ten Writer  - publishers of many of the world's bestselling authors 

YouWriteOn Authors'  Congratulations to our many authors achieving sales and signings successes through  Waterstones, Amazon and others! 

YouWriteOn Message Board > Literary Forums > It Was A Dark And Stormy Night... Help Search Recent Posts
George Orwell Advises
Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Last : 9 > Start New Topic Reply To Topic
YouWriteOn
 25 Feb 2006, 12:48 #2432 Reply To Post
"Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word when a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive when you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent." -George Orwell

Unfortunately we don't have George in person to advise us, but if you really want to know essentials for good writing, read the article below.

Writing is the fun part, but the following article gives you another idea of essential ways to make your writing more powerful, more readable and more publishable. Enjoying writing is great, but if you really want to succeed then click the link below ..

http://www.esc.edu/esconline/across_esc/writerscomplex.nsf/0/336aa1a4426e652a852569c3006c815d?OpenDocument

This post was last edited by YouWriteOn, 25 Feb 2006, 12:52
Keiser
 26 Feb 2006, 15:06 #2500 Reply To Post
Man, you don't realise how much there is to learn until you start reading some of these articles. Orwell was truly the master as well so he should know ..
tomkeal
 14 Aug 2008, 17:41 #41900 Reply To Post
Quote: YouWriteOn, Saturday, 25 Feb 2006 13:00

The Active Vs. The Passive Voice

The Active Voice. What is it, why do all bestselling authors generally use it, and why does it have so much more impact? .. And how you can recognise the Passive Voice in your writing and avoid it?


But for balance, it's also worth reading this (entertainingly vehement) dissenting view from a linguistics professor:

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/myl/languagelog/archives/003366.html
leighvtwersky
 14 Aug 2008, 21:56 #41914 Reply To Post
Very interesting. Tom Keale's link especially so, and immensely gratifying too. I have been extremely wary of some of these 'rules' that are linguistically unsubstantiated.
I also find the examples of 'bad passive sentences' quoted highly disingenuous, because they are almost without fail things that nobody whose native tongue was English would ever conceive, think, say or write - except to prepare their own anti-passive procrustean bed.
And I didn't like some of the 'improvements' either. Drawled for example is NOT an exact equivalent of 'spoke slowly' and neither is resembled the same as 'compared with'.
What is dangerous about some of this pontificating is that is can stifle spontaneity in less confident writers, and make them worry about inconsequential things. Or people who feel unsure about grammar may belive that what is printed must be gospel. they need to know that their own linguistic instinct is just as valid. they run the risk of seeing the above examples and thinking that spoke slowly must be avopided at al costs.
I have also seen people criticize other writers here on YWO for using the passive, when it is clear they haven;t the faintest idea what a passive is. I've seen references to the passive tense (sic) and conflating the passive with the copula and the continuous active tenses becauser they use the verb to be.
It also all stems from idiosyncratic linguistic preferences - we all have them - for example I hate 'meet with' - which famous authors have been in the position to promote as guidelines. yes, avoiding certain things works for them, but other authors may develop other styles.
Two more points, then my RAAAAAAAAANNNTTTT is over:
1. All these things, passive, adverbs adjectives exist in the language for a reason. They don't exist to be avoided, otherwise...need I go on???
2. People generally know when to use the passive or not. it's an inbuilt instinctive native speaker thing. Even Orwell concedes 'when possible', meaning he admits there are times when one should use the passive. We know also when writing doesn't work, and it may be that a passive construction is clumsy.
lastly, some of these guidelines are very useful, and they can help you pare your writing down, and style can be studied and worked at of course, but the danger is turning these rules into some sort of mantra. And they can be self contradictory. Sure use simple words where possible, but sometimes , to avoid ugly repetition, you might have to substitute a longer word.

datahog
 14 Aug 2008, 22:09 #41915 Reply To Post
My rant is much shorter: whatever you do to me as a reader, don't inundate me with "was" and "were" sentences. I find them tremendously enervating, and I will never buy one of your books again, no matter how otherwise scintillating I found the first one.
This post was last edited by datahog, 14 Aug 2008, 22:13
leighvtwersky
 14 Aug 2008, 22:18 #41917 Reply To Post
Quote: datahog, Thursday, 14 Aug 2008 22:09
My rant is much shorter: whatever you do to me as a reader, don't inundate me with "was" and "were" sentences. I find them tremendously enervating, and I will never buy one of your books again, no matter how otherwise scintillating I found the first one.


Er...I haven't got any books for sale (but if I did it would be lovely)
PS what exactly is a "was" or "were" sentence??
datahog
 14 Aug 2008, 22:24 #41919 Reply To Post
Quote: leighvtwersky, Thursday, 14 Aug 2008 22:18


Er...I haven't got any books for sale (but if I did it would be lovely)
PS what exactly is a "was" or "were" sentence??


A passive sentence. (My rant was directed at published authors. Admittedly, though, I find many more passive sentences among the unpublished.)
leighvtwersky
 14 Aug 2008, 22:35 #41922 Reply To Post
Quote: datahog, Thursday, 14 Aug 2008 22:24

I find many more passive sentences among
the unpublished.)[/quote


is that like the undead, or the unwashed??
datahog
 14 Aug 2008, 22:53 #41926 Reply To Post
Quote: leighvtwersky, Thursday, 14 Aug 2008 22:35
Quote: datahog, Thursday, 14 Aug 2008 22:24

I find many more passive sentences among
the unpublished.)[/quote


is that like the undead, or the unwashed??


Actually, it feels more like leprosy. Excuse me while I find my toe...
This post was last edited by datahog, 14 Aug 2008, 22:57
leighvtwersky
 14 Aug 2008, 23:12 #41928 Reply To Post
Have just read Flashback and really enjoyed it by the way. yes. iIn answer to your question at the end it would be a book I'd like to read
Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Last : 9 > Add To My Topic Watch List Start New Topic Reply To Topic
Server Time: 12 December 2017, 14:22

Powered by Zarr Forums

-

 

Adverts provided by Google and not endorsed by YouWriteOn.com.