I_AM Self-Publishing has just launched All Time Author of the Month, a blog series in which we share some gems and expertise from our literary legends. This is not just because we love these authors; it is because they can teach you how to become a better writer. Your writing will improve if you take time to read the greats: fact. If you have a personal literary hero that you would like us to feature, then please comment below stating who they are and what we could learn from them.
Our literary legend for November is… GEORGE ORWELL.
George Orwell (or Eric Arthur Blair to his friends) was one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. The Times actually ranked him No. 2 in a chart of The 50 Greatest British Writers Since 1945. Works such as Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm are still widely read and studied in this country, and not just for the perceptive social observations. Orwell exercised a powerful economy of words and you too can do the same by following his 6 golden rules below:
- 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.
Print these rules out and put them next to your computer, so that next time you start writing you can be mindful of these principles as you create. Similarly, when you next finish a chapter, or piece of work, give yourself a break from it for a few days/weeks. When you return afresh, look at these principles before you read your work through and edit your work accordingly. This will undoubtedly make your writing more powerful.