Something I admire about CS Lewis was his tender kindness responding to fan letters from children. From such letters we can continue to glean from his pithy wisdom and literary heart. If not from his letters, then perhaps we turn to one of his publications or, let’s face it, some random Internet find full of his quotations. Today I’ll link to a helpful piece detailing 15 Pieces of Writing Advice from CS Lewis, put together by Justin Taylor, executive VP of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway.
My own comments include, can’t we go back to abbreviating words in handwritten letters? Shd. for should. I find it charming. It seems like such a shift of emphasis.
Twelve of the fifteen comments were made to children, eight of them to a seventh grader. What respect he shows and what due diligence put into non-obligatory communication! It’s heartwarming.
My favorites are 3 and 6.
3. “Always write (and read) with the ear, not the eye. You shd. hear every sentence you write as if it was being read aloud or spoken. If it does not sound nice, try again.” (C. S. Lewis letter to a girl named Thomasine (December 14, 1959), a seventh-grader whose teacher had assigned her students to write to a famous author for writing advice.)
6. “When you give up a bit of work don’t (unless it is hopelessly bad) throw it away. Put it in a drawer. It may come in useful later. Much of my best work, or what I think my best, is the re-writing of things begun and abandoned years earlier.” (CS Lewis from that same letter)
I also very much appreciate the perspective of 15 on including “explicitly Christian bits to your writing.” It adds to our ongoing consideration of what makes a writer a “Christian writer”.
PS. I love that Justin Taylor includes the sources. Include sources! 🙂 And happy writing!