1. Of prime necessity is life: a style should live.
2. Style should be suited to the specific person with whom you wish to communicate. (The law of mutual relation.)
3. First, one must determine precisely “what-and-what do I wish to say and present,” before you may write. Writing must be mimicry.
4. Since the writer lacks many of the speaker’s means, he must in general have for his model a very expressive kind of presentation of necessity, the written copy will appear much paler.
5. The richness of life reveals itself through a richness of gestures. One must learn to feel everything — the length and retarding of sentences, interpunctuations, the choice of words, the pausing, the sequence of arguments — like gestures.
6. Be careful with periods! Only those people who also have long duration of breath while speaking are entitled to periods. With most people, the period is a matter of affectation.
7. Style ought to prove that one believes in an idea; not only that one thinks it but also feels it.
8. The more abstract a truth which one wishes to teach, the more one must first entice the senses.
9. Strategy on the part of the good writer of prose consists of choosing his means for stepping close to poetry but never stepping into it.
10. It is not good manners or clever to deprive one’s reader of the most obvious objections. It is very good manners and very clever to leave it to one’s reader alone to pronounce the ultimate quintessence of our wisdom.
I’ve been writing for various purposes of late so I’ve posted this. I want to think about it. (Worth baring in mind it’s regarding German – and translated into US English.)
What’s the difference between something said to be intelligent and something worth saying? Does it matter?
When I was a child and my sisters were teens one of my sisters used to play an LP – possibly an album of cover versions or maybe probably an album of cover versions and traditional songs I forget; and have no interest in researching. An album recorded by the successful recording celebrity and acting celebrity: Sting. The song I remember being played is called “Gabriel’s Message” a translation of an old Basque hymn. The refrain which caught my ear (and which caught the ear of the Bishop of Oxford Richard Harris according to Wikepedia) was that of ‘most highly favoured lady’. I didn’t hear ‘most highly favoured lady’ which would have made no sense. I heard ‘highly flavoured gravy’ which held a great deal more interest to my youthful cognizance and, frankly, that still holds true today; thirty years on. A spiritual composed to venerate gravy.