With that intro, plus the fact that his works and philosophies are enjoying a resurgence in modern literature and even political commentary, it's no stretch to think he'd have tips and relevant opinions on writing itself.
Here then is his 18 tips on writing, followed by a short story which I thought appropriate for the sake of this blog - and my writing career.
"To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence." - - Twain
2. The episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help develop it.
3. The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.
4. The personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there.
5. When the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say.
6. When the author describes the character of a personage in his tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description.
7. When a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven-dollar Friendship's Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a Negro minstrel at the end of it.
8. Crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader by either the author or the people in the tale.
9. The personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.
10. The author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones.
11. The characters in tale be so clearly defined that the reader can tell beforehand what each will do in a given emergency.
An author should
12. _Say_ what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.
13. Use the right word, not its second cousin.
14. Eschew surplusage.
15. Not omit necessary details.
16. Avoid slovenliness of form.
17. Use good grammar.
18. Employ a simple, straightforward style.
"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."
>> Mark Twain
My debut As a Literary Person
In those early days I had already published one little thing ('The
Jumping Frog') in an Eastern paper, but I did not consider that that
counted. In my view, a person who published things in a mere newspaper
could not properly claim recognition as a Literary Person: he must rise
away above that; he must appear in a magazine. He would then be a
Literary Person; also, he would be famous--right away. These two
ambitions were strong upon me. This was in 1866. I prepared my
contribution, and then looked around for the best magazine to go up to
glory in. I selected the most important one in New York. The
contribution was accepted. I signed it 'MARK TWAIN;' for that name had
some currency on the Pacific coast, and it was my idea to spread it all
over the world, now, at this one jump. The article appeared in the
December number, and I sat up a month waiting for the January number; for
that one would contain the year's list of contributors, my name would be
in it, and I should be famous and could give the banquet I was
I did not give the banquet. I had not written the 'MARK TWAIN'
distinctly; it was a fresh name to Eastern printers, and they put it
'Mike Swain' or 'MacSwain,' I do not remember which. At any rate, I was
not celebrated and I did not give the banquet. I was a Literary Person,
but that was all--a buried one; buried alive.
My article was about the burning of the clipper-ship 'Hornet' on the
line, May 3, 1866. There were thirty-one men on board at the time, and I
was in Honolulu when the fifteen lean and ghostly survivors arrived there
after a voyage of forty-three days in an open boat, through the blazing
tropics, on ten days' rations of food. A very remarkable trip; but it
was conducted by a captain who was a remarkable man, otherwise there
would have been no survivors. He was a New Englander of the best
sea-going stock of the old capable times--Captain Josiah Mitchell.
For the full story, click HERE
"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."
>> Mark Twain
"Truth is stranger than Fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."
>> Mark Twain
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