Posted by: Dawud Israel | October 15, 2008

Writing like a Genius

Writing like a Genius

Sometimes my writing really sucks. I don’t know how or why sometimes since I have my own guidelines to writing. The only reason I write is as a quick tool to expression.

Anyways, I found this nice essay by George Orwell regarding writing and the English language. Orwell really knew what he was talking about.

Here are some keep excerpts from one of his essays.

On Metaphors: “For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.”

On Pretentiousness: Words like phenomenon, element, individual (as noun), objective, categorical, effective, virtual, basic, primary, promote, constitute, exhibit, exploit, utilize, eliminate, liquidate, are used to dress up a simple statement and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgments.

On ‘Words’ doing the thinking for us: They will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.

On getting the right meaning of words: What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been visualising you probably hunt about until you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one’s meaning as clear as one can through pictures and sensations.

Read the full thing here.

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, Ameen.


Responses

  1. ‘Here are some keep excerpts from one of his essays.’

    Did you mean KEY exerpts?

  2. Yes 😀

    So much for writing like a genius!

  3. whooo – a scholarly gem – way to go!


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