On this day… 29th November, 1898 – C.S. Lewis born
Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist. He held academic positions at both Oxford University (Magdalen College), 1925–54, and Cambridge University (Magdalene College), 1954–63.
Lewis is best known for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.
It is said that nearly every morning Lewis spent at least an hour reading the mail he received and crafting thoughtful and detailed replies. A selection of these replies are gathered together in the beautiful collection C.S. Lewis’ Letters to Children, edited by Lyle W. Dorset and Marjorie Lamp Mead and first published in 1985.
In one of these replies Lewis shared some very practical writing advice with an aspiring young American writer named Joan Lancaster.
- Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.
- Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
- Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.”
- In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feelabout the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make ussay “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers “Please will you do my job for me.”
- Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something reallyinfinite.
Did You Know?
J.R.R. Tolkien did not like the Narnia stories.
Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. They both served on the English faculty at Oxford University, and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the Inklings. Despite being good friends J.R.R. Tolkien did not like the Narnia stories. Tolkien did not like the Christian allegory, nor did he like the mixing of myths. It appeared he was fond of Aslan though.
**Phew – I can’t believe I nearly missed todays KYH post and its an amazing author whose work I adore.
I must say today’s quote is also one I think I will cherish. In fact it reminds me of a very inspirational young man who has recently began blogging on wordpress. His story is amazing and there are very few words to describe it – but his own are certainly the best he was attacked by a youth who “rammed a 10 inch screwdriver through my temple, so deep that the handle shattered my skull”..he had “brain surgery to remove the shards of skull left in the destructive wake of the screwdriver, I was not expected to survive. If in the unlikely event I did, I was expected to become a persistent vegetable.” …”When I awoke from my month long coma, I couldn’t speak, sit up, and was paralysed down one side.”
…”To cut a long story short (it seems like an eternity), I’ve defied all predictions and done the opposite of what was expected.. My motto has always been “I REFUSE TO LOSE” – ’nuff said! I’ve broken just about every rule in the medical profession, including dying being the end of your life. It was the beginning of mine and I wouldn’t change a thing”
So for those who haven’t come across his amazing inspiring blog yet I truly urge you to pop over to Nick’s Blog – http://nickverron.com/ – it is probably one of the best blogs to be found on wordpress that will restore your faith in the human spirit and human courage. His story is proof that “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
Enjoy. KL 🙂