Saturday, October 06, 2007

V.S.Naipaul has something to say

Like always its vitriolic. However, this time it can be of some use to us. His advice to writers:

VS Naipaul’s Rules for Beginners

1. Do not write long sentences. A sentence should not have more than ten or twelve words.

2. Each sentence should make a clear statement. It should add to the statement that went before. A good paragraph is a series of clear, linked statements.

3. Do not use big words. If your computer tells you that your average word is more than five letters long, there is something wrong. The use of small words compels you to think about what you are writing. Even difficult ideas can be broken down into small words.

4. Never use words whose meaning you are not sure of. If you break this rule you should look for other work.

5. The beginner should avoid using adjectives, except those of colour, size and number. Use as few adverbs as possible.

6. Avoid the abstract. Always go for the concrete.

7. Every day, for six months at least, practice writing in this way. Small words; short, clear, concrete sentences. It may be awkward, but it’s training you in the use of language. It may even be getting rid of the bad language habits you picked up at the university. You may go beyond these rules after you have thoroughly understood and mastered them.

From: India Uncut

Please share your opinion on this post in the comments section.


  1. I liked number 1 and 4 the most.

    By the way, how do u define the beginers??
    I am almost an year old in writing but still regard myself as a beginer...

  2. Oh I disagree with VS Naipaul. Yes, content writers who desire to be little more may train so.

    The creative writer finds writing to be a personal experience and he certainly does not write for an audience. Storytelling is about telling the story, and there is no such person as a beginner storyteller. Just novice wordsmiths. And wordsmithying is an over rated art.

  3. There is a big gap between having a story to tell and being able to tell a story. Wordsmithying maybe an over rated art but its an art nevertheless. Still, VS Naipaul did intend the piece for writers who look for public approval, someone who writes only for himself writes not for writing's sake but to have an outlet.


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