George Orwell’s writing tips – helpful for sermon writing

8 11 2010

George Orwell’s writing tips:

1. What am I trying to say?
2. What words will express it?
3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

And:
1. Could I put it more shortly?
2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? One can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails.

I think the following rules will cover most cases:
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

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