Christian Fiction Writer


Writing Tips From Around the Net

What Color is Your Pig's Lipstick?Danielle wrote to ask, "In 100 words or less, what is the best writing advice you ever received?" Chip

That's easy... On page 71 of Strunk & White's Elements of Style (3rd Edition), they give this advice: "Write with nouns and verbs, not adjectives and adverbs." In the words of E.B. White, nouns and verbs "give to good writing its toughness and color." Similarly, in his insightful work, On Writing, novelist Stephen King goes into great detail on this advice, pointing out that any reader can understand the combination of a noun and a verb: "Mary sighs." "Computers crash." "Book illuminate." In my experience, authors (particularly novelists, but ALL authors) tend to use adjectives and adverbs to dress things up when they can't find the right word. But that's nothing more than lipstick on a pig. The right word is what good writing is all about. If you want punch and strength in your writing, write with nouns and verbs.


1 comment:

Timothy Fish said...

Sometimes, the reader needs to know the color of the pig's lipstick. While it is possibile to go overboard with adverbs and adjectives, they help to paint the picture for the reader. A well placed modifier can make the story come alive. For example we could say, "the man sat next to the fire," or we could say "the wrinkled old man sat next to the blazing fire, hoping to warm his icy bones." While the two sentences tell the same story, the second sentence adds depth to the story.