Mes Chers Readers Who Write,
I am sure I do not need to remind you of who I am at this point in our relationship, but I will acknowledge there may be a handful of benighted individuals who have yet to make my acquaintance. So for their benefit, I will again mention that my name is Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV and I am the renowned author of both the speculative fiction classic ‘Fatswhistle and Buchtooth’ and of this ‘The Thinking Quill’ which offers insight into the mysteries of the authorial craft.
Indeed it was only yesterday Mummy observed: ‘You spend too much time in that coal cellar. You should get out more.” But I assured her the reason I was committing so much of my life to my literary sanctum, was both to progress my own literary offerings and to selflessly share of my copious pearls of wisdom with you, oh Reader Who Writes.
So, without further hesitation or procrastination on either side, let us undress the goddess of literature and peer beneath the skirts of her most intimate places. In brief, dear RWW, let us consider the very building-blocks of her DNA – the tools with which one has wrought such wonders – words.
How to Start Writing a Book – Lesson 5. The Write Words
It is a truth universally acknowledged that paucity of vocabulary is the fence at which a multiplicity of putative novelists fail. Gird up your loins my children and do battle with the twin dragons of over-simplification and ugly language. Let that duo of decrepitude be downtrodden under the heels of linguistic loveliness. Let your Muse speak to you in honeyed prose. Let the thesaurus be your Bible and let not the commonplace leave your fingertips. Never say that your grass is green, rather enchant your readers with the verdant viridian verbiage. Let them inhale the aroma of the recumbent emerald as it is crushed beneath the bare toes of powerful simile.
Let your doting following bask in the sunlight of your fertile poesy. Let your words be as sunlight to the face of the damask rose. Let your adjectival imagery lift your children from the commonplace to the heights of quasi-sexual ecstasy. Let your voice be as the zephyr of a southern breeze carrying the redolence of olive groves and lemon trees and the salt tang of mare nostrum.
Lead your interlocutors along primrose paths of erudition and titillation, and do not cease in your endeavours until your mind’s ear can hear their sighs of replete completion. Only then have you begun to understand the manifest prognostications of your craft.
To encapsulate this vital educational epistle:
- Never use a simple word where a periphrastic locution can be set.
- Never use a sole descriptor – a lonely adjective should be a contumely maxim! Instead, allow the perihelion swirl of elucidatory and expressive ornament to embrace each noun and verb.
- Seek always the etymological road least travelled and endow your audience with rare gems mined from deep archaisms and seek the perfect bon mots from languages few speak. Thus you will both educate and impress.
Consider my words with care.
Until next mes enfants, adieu and may Erato and Calliope attend your dreams.