George Orwell’ Rules of Writing.
George Orwell was one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century. His 1984 about a distopian future is both an interesting critique on the way society was (and still is) developing. In his short life he wrote both great classics but also essays. In one of these essays he summarizes 6 rules of writing:
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where 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.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
I think #6 is the most important rule in the entire history of writing. Please don’t allow yourself to be defined by the rules of other men and authors. They have made it because of talent and hard work, not rules. Wherever it is appropriate break the rules. I put them on my blog because advice has value. These rules have value for me, personally. I cannot promise you that every snippet of advice will be equally valuable.