<$Susan Goodwill$>

Monday, July 20, 2009


It's been a while...First an update on Agnes: she was last seen scooting under my mouse-sitter's fridge during a cage cleaning incident. My friend swears he heard a faint little mousey voice yell, "Live free or die!"
As his house is older and has been declared a D-Con free zone, she is believed to be happy, healthy, and thriving.
Now, on to me: I am working on a new series!
It is fun and intriguing and I am excited to see where it leads. It is a little more serious than the Kate London books, but not overly so.
Kate and Kitty are still alive and well and waiting on the sidelines.

PS Thanks to Eeek Mail for the image.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Mouse or A Muse (a.k.a. I Am Crazy Now)

So, it has been sub-arctic up here in Michigan.

That having been said, things are coming out of the woodwork. Quite literally. The c-c-c-old has driven mice into the crawl space under my livingroom. And other places, I fear. But blocking the crawlspace is a problem for when the snow melts.
On with my story....

A week ago Saturday night, the mice had been driving the dogs nuts making noises in the baseboard area. ClaraBelle and Ernie were obsessed with one particular corner, and as soon as I opened the bedroom door the next morning, ClaraBelle made a beeline for said corner.
I guess I'm a little crazy myself, because I was about to pick up the Tupperware pitcher that holds thistle seed for my bird feeder, which (ahh, the plot thickens) happened to be in that very same corner. I noticed the lid was slightly open. I looked inside, and I'm proud to say this, I didn't even scream when the mouse inside looked back.

So, with me looking horrified and the mouse looking horrified, I think we both were thinking the same thing:
Uh-oh, what do I do now?

But the ball was in my court, or should I say the mouse was.
I narrowed it down to three options.

1. Kill it.....nope. I apologize to boneless skinless chicken breasts in the grocery store aisle. No way.

2. Let it outside far from the house..... the windchill was 15 below. This would turn into option 1 pretty quickly.

3. Let it outside near the house....the equivalent of letting it into the living room. I'm crazy, not stupid. No way.

So, I chose option 4. I headed for WalMart and came back armed with a terrarium, water bottle, mouse food and bedding.

I've named her Agnes, and she lives in my office now. She is gray and white (must be the great-great granddaughter of someone's pet.) She is partial to blueberries and infinitesimal slices of apple.

I like to think she is an inspiration. A muse of a mouse to nudge me toward my writing goals.
Yeah, yeah. I know. I told you I was crazy.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Confession of a Procrastinator

They say the first step to changing a bad behavior is facing it, admitting it. So, here's my confession: Hello, my name is Susan, and it has been one year since I have written anything significant.
I've talked about it and diddled around with maybe 100 words at a pop. This has gone on for at least the last twelve months.
As you know, I haven't even posted to my own blog in almost that long.

Most of the writerly folks I know sneeze and a hundred words hit the paper. But for some reason, this past year and this book, a new day-job, and this all-or-nothing personality of mine have conspired to create a wee bit of some kind of er, ummm…, BLOCK!
There, I said it. And I do NOT believe in writers' block.

Here's the thing: I want to write. I plan to write. It's what I feel I came here to do. But every day, I don’t. I can make enough excuses to fill a dozen blogs, let alone this one. The truth is, I've procrastinated because writing is hard, and it doesn’t pay well at this point in my career. The odds are that it will never pay well.

That's the dirty little secret about novel writing. It's really hard, and maybe the top 10% make enough to pay our bills and eat.

The pay well part is important because I am largely motivated by financial recognition and furthermore, I like to eat.

But here's what happened in the last twenty-four hours. First, it has really been bugging me that I haven't been writing. It's on the new years' resolution list for this year, as it has been every year for my whole adult life. Most years it got shoved aside, but as you know, not all years. Hence, the two novels I have out there.
The receptionist at my doctor's office, Miriam, left me a voicemail last night. She had just finished my second book. After the various and sundry appointment information, she launched into a gushing riff on how much she loved Little Shop of Murders.

This morning I called to change my appointment. She called my book the best book she'd read in a long time. She proceeded to say that she stayed up until 4:00 AM finishing it. She said that what she loves about my books is that they are funny with a good mystery, but that there is something about them that is just a tiny bit sad underneath. No one else has gotten that yet, but I meant for it to be gotten.
And she asked that I put her first on the list for the next book.

Thank you, Miriam!
I am bottling that phonecall and putting it in the writers' room in my head. I'll take a sip of that potion every day and use it to inspire me to get back on track. 2009 will bring another book. I swear. And I'll blog once a week. I promise.

Anyway, eating is overrated.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Disappearing Destination

I'll be the first to admit, it's not the vacation for everyone.
But I like it. I really do.
I like cottages.
And I mean real cottages--the kind built somewhere between 1935 and 1950, where you make your own bed each day and have to sweep and wipe down the counters and strip the beds when you check out.
Maybe one or two bedrooms are packed in the little building, with a little kitchenette and a more shabby than shabby chic living room and a tiny vintage bath.
Outside is usually a beach of some sort, picnic tables, barbecues and maybe a fire pit for late night bonfires under the stars.
This picture is of a cottage where I recently spent a week. It's on beautiful Longboat Key in Florida--right smack-dab on the beach.
A wonderful place that alas, is about to be sold. The new owner swears they 'won't change a thing." I hope that's true, but did I mention, right smack-dab on the beach? The writing is on the wall.
Every year more cottages disappear. Their old, freestanding buildings are expensive to maintain, and they don't demand the dollars of a highrise on the same beach front property.
They are often replaced with slick, resort style chain hotels or condos that could be anywhere in the world. And our lives becomes a little more homogeonized, a little less rich. Another thing we lose in the name of progress and convenience.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Isn't She Lovely?

I'll admit it, I'm excited. I just this week received the advance copies of book two in the Kate London Mystery Series, Little Shop of Murders.
I absolutely luuuuve the cover art, with its concept designed by the talented Kevin Brown of Midnight Ink and the design's flawless execution by illustrator Kim Johnson of Lindgren & Smith.
Acquisition editor Barbara Moore and copy editor Connie Hill combined efforts to make the finished story-product shine and flow like quicksilver, and the back cover copy, worked and fine-tuned by Amy Martin, also of Midnight Ink, gives just the right combination of intrigue, romance, and slapstick.
Finally holding the finished product in my hands, I'm one happy girl!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Good Writing Weather

It's good writing weather here in Michigan. Today is foggy and snowy, and it's nice to be inside.
With the holidays behind and a few months of winter out in front, it's a favorite time of year for me to hunker in my garret with my current work in progress. Right now it's La Cage aux Foul Play. Little Shop of Murders is on its way to the world, and my first baby, BrigaDOOM has survived, even thrived, for almost a year now.
So, I've brewed a cup of tea and tossed an afghan over my lap. I've lit a candle to the muses, put some classical on the headphones, and I'm ready to dive into my story. Going back to La Cage aux Foul Play is like seeing an old friend on a winter's afternoon.
Today my only orders are to say hello, to show up, to make a joyful noise.
Hello, old friend.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

BrigaDOOM tours with Famous Author!

Notorious author, Jack Getze, of the Austin Carr Mysteries fame, was gracious enough to allow the everpresent paparazzi to snap this shot of him on tour with BrigaDOOM!

Mystic is apparently a historic seaport in Connecticut that also, ahem, happens to host one big, honking gambling casino.

Well, you know what they say-- all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy-- and trust me, if you've read Jack Getze's recent debut Big Numbers-- you know, Jack is anything but dull!

Jack-- you win a pin!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

BrigaDOOM at the Mall of the Americas

Beth continues her treck with BrigaDOOM shoe-shopping at the Mall of the Americas. Today she crossed the midwest with 659 miles under her belt and on her odometer. What's next for our intrepid traveler?
Take your own pictures of BrigaDOOM on the move and you, too, can win the coveted Skull and Crossbones lapel pin.
Look at the June 27 post to see the artist's rendering. The actual pin is too beautiful to photograph. Blogger bans photos of such beauty, in fears that they will crash the system.
If you send me your photo of BrigaDOOM on the Move here, along with your name and address, and where and why you took the picture you did, you, too, may have your photo posted and win the pin!
Who's playing?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

BrigaDOOM goes to the Badlands!

From Beth this morning,
"...the North Dakota Badlands, at Painted Canyon in Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Apparently there are badlands in SD, ND, and MT so far...maybe there are more...who knew? I took the picture from an overlook, which I shared with a woman who was threatening to swim in a lake far below us. I thought she was kidding til she shouted to her hubby, "I found a path!" and disappeared over the edge, as she hollered back to me, "Don't take a picture of the fat lady skinny-dipping!" I drove from MT through ND to Minneapolis on Thursday, and this was my first stop. And the best of the day - who knew ND was pretty??"
Thanks Beth!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

BrigaDOOM is on the Move!!

We have a new player in the BrigaDOOM is on the move game.

Beth Hanggeli from Idaho sends us this shot from Lake Coeur d'Alene, at the very start of her cross country road trip. She says it was too early and windy to find a tourist to hold the book and the seagulls were no help at all.
Beth tells us we can plan on pictures from the Dakotas to Maine to Florida!
Go Beth!!

Beth is a writer and world traveler. Visit Beth's blogspot here.
When Beth lands long enough to receive mail, we'll send her the coveted Skull and Cross bone pin.
Who's playing next?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Win Prizes!

When you send your picture for BrigaDOOM is on the MOVE, include your name and address. If we post yours, you will receive this lovely Kate London Mysteries lapel pin. Okay, that isn't the ACTUAL pin, it's the design, but trust me, it will be lovely. (See my previous post for details.)

BrigaDOOM is on the Move!!!

They say when a book is published, it takes on a life of its own. Apparently, this is true. BrigaDOOM has taken to traveling the world without me!

Here's BrigaDOOM on Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland.

If you spot BrigaDOOM in an unusual place, please send me a snapshot through my website e-mail at http://www.susangoodwill.com/

Where will it turn up next?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Killer Conferences

Hi Everybody,

I haven't posted for a while because I have been verry busy. I, just this past weekend, attended my first Malice Domestic. It was amazing and exciting and a dream come true!

This is the big conference in Arlington, Virginia, where the Agatha is given out for the best mysteries of the cozy persuasion. I then drove--well, my significant other, Bob, drove, bless is soul-- with two of my dear author friends, Jack Getze , author of the debut novel, Big Numbers, and Christine Goff, author of the Birdwater's Mysteries, to Pittsburgh.

Today, we have tea with a few hundred librarians. How cool is that? And tonight, we attend the twelfth annual Festival of Mystery in Oakmont, PA., sponsored by the home of my very first bestseller list, the absolutely wonderful Mystery Lovers Bookshop. I am in the part of the country where I was raised. Signing books. Life is good.

P.S. Nancy Martin, author of the Blackbird Sisters Mysteries moderated our panel at Malice Domestic. What a wonderful lady. I have been a fan of hers for years, so this was another out-of-body moment--she said she loved my book! And I just found out that she posted about it on her blog-- The Lipstick Chronicles on May 3rd.

Life is really good.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

My First Bestseller List

I posted this over on my Amazon plog, but I thought I'd cross post it over here.
I received news of a redletter first yesterday: I made my first Bestseller List!
Susan Goodwill's debut book in the Kate London Mystery Series, BrigaDOOM, has made the March, 2007 bestseller list at Mystery Lovers Bookshop .

Mystery Lovers Bookshop is one of the largest specialty mystery book stores in the country and has been in business for seventeen years. Located in Oakmont, PA, Mystery Lovers sponsors the annual Festival of Mystery, now in its twelth year.
The Festival will take place Monday, May 7, 2007.

I know it's not the NYT, but it IS a group of avid mystery readers and true lovers of the genre, so I am totally flattered. And I will be at the Festival May 7, with bells on. (Or at least good boots.)
COMING UP SOON: BrigaDOOM is on the move. Tune in next week for more...

Monday, April 02, 2007

First Signing

Here's a couple of shots from Saturday's booksigning. Folks were there waiting when I showed up fifteen minutes early! It was like that all day. Many were friends and neighbors who came to wish me well, but others were strangers and browsers who spent the dreary afternoon in the warmth and coziness of Barnes & Noble. Dan, the manager, said it was the best new author signing they have ever had, and they want me to come back in April.

I know that they won't all be this way, but it sure was a nice way to start.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

My First Signing

March 31st, 2007
Today is my very first booksigning! If you happen to be in southeast Michigan and in the area, please pop in to the Birmingham/Bloomfield Barnes & Noble at Fifteen Mile and Telegraph Roads between two and four today. I'll be signing BrigaDOOM and would love to see friendly faces.
Booksigning tip from years of sales: Stand, make eye contact, have a fifteen second speech to answer the question, "What's your book about?" Tell your visitor what your story is about, then hand them the book and chat more about it, or let them read the back cover if they like. Let them hold your book, but talk as long as they want if you have no line. They can read later, they came to talk to you.
I'm excited. I'll post later about how things went!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Booksigning and Atlantis Rising

This weekend I stopped in at my local Barnes & Noble and got my first glimpse of the publicity for my booksigning. Posters of the book cover for BrigaDOOM and my picture adorned the big plate glass windows, and a display table loaded with books and flyers graced the table by the row of cash registers.
It was so exciting to see! I wish I had brought my camera so I could share this. I'll snap a picture at the signing.
It really was one of those moments where it hit me. I am living out my dream!
For those of you local to the Detroit area, the signing is next Saturday, March 31st, 2:00PM-4:00 PM at the Bloomfield Hills Barnes & Noble, 15 Mile and Telegraph.
And speaking of living the dream, I chatted with a friend last night who, get this, hit the bestseller lists this week! As in USA Today, BookScan, B&N. Alyssa Day AKA Alesia Holliday has hit with her break-out paranormal romance "Atlantis Rising." And it's a series.
Congratulations Alyssa!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hurricane Punch

While I am waiting for Big Numbers by Jack Getze, I've found another darkly comic author to love. Tim Dorsey's 'severely under-medicated serial killer protagonist, Serge Storm, is joyously twisted. I mean that in a good way. I am a third of the way into Hurricane Punch, and I have begun laughing maniacally while walking the dogs. (I'm listening to the Audible version on my MP3.)
After I get through my to-be-read stack, I am heading back to the first book in this series and catching myself up to speed in the life of this wonderfully loveable, brilliantly psycopathic, ADHD vigilante.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Big Numbers, by Jack Getze

I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of Big Numbers, by Jack Getze. I'll read this on a day when I crave a little hard boiled fiction with that darkly comic quirky thread.
Big Numbers is garnering rave reviews all over the place, and Jack is a writer's writer who is poised to hit the bigtime.
Here's a quote from one of his online reviews:
"there is a grey area in between the good guys and the bad guys where some characters thrive...Big Numbers is a gritty, sexy, violent and funny book...filled with outrageous characters and situations." Reviewed by Liz
Let's hope the dogs don't eat the book (or the mailman), because I can't wait!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Devil's Pitchfork

I walked into Borders Sunday and found BrigaDOOM displayed on the "New in Paperback" table. What a feeling!
I almost had to be sedated.
In other book news:
If you like intelligient, scientific thrillers, you should take a look at The Devil's Pitchfork, by Mark Terry.
Here's an excerpt from one of Mark's Amazon reviewers:
Quick witted, willful, but somehow vulnerable, Stillwater is Jack Ryan before he lost a step. Rooting for him in his high stakes race against time is easy; anticipating his reactions to each successive shock and surprise is great fun.
Marks' second book, The Serpent's Kiss, comes out in July.
Happy reading.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Office

I thought it might be fun to show what my office looks like. It's messy, I know, but trust me, it's never even this neat! I shoved all the crap out of the way so you get the 'as good as it gets' shot.
And you may notice-- a REAL LIFE copy of BrigaDOOM strategically placed on my keyboard. I saw it in stores this week. What an absolute thrill to see your book on the shelf in a bookstore. As my friend Elizabeth says, you can hold the product of your creativity in your hands.
If you are a writer and have a shot of your 'writerly nook' please send it. I'll post it here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kangaroo Court meets Miss Alice

Next week will be busy, the book is shipping out from Amazon now, and yours truly must fire up the shoe-mobile and attend JURY DUTY--at eight-thirty AM! Don't they know I write at night? What happened to night court, or better yet, afternoon court? And I have to go through that metal-detector thingy, and I can't take my phone because it contains a camera. Now, explain to me why Nancy Grace and the rest of court TV can take a camera crew, and I can't take my phone because it has a camera.
And on a related note, check this guy out. I love this man:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A male lawyer who appeared in court dressed in women's clothes as a protest against what he said was New Zealand's overly-masculine judiciary was suspended Wednesday after being found to be in contempt of court.

The High Court found Rob Moodie, a 68-year-old, balding man who appeared in court in dresses and toting a handbag, was in contempt for circulating suppressed documents outside the court in one of his cases.

Moodie officially changed his name to "Miss Alice" as part of his protest against the "old boys network" that he said runs the nation's judiciary, and was granted an award for the most bizarre conduct by a lawyer in 2006 by London's The Times newspaper.

The protest began after a coroner's inquest largely blamed a farming couple for the collapse of a bridge on their property built by the army.

Moodie obtained documents apportioning much of the blame for the collapse to faulty wood used by New Zealand Defense Force engineers, and posted the report on the Internet despite a judge's order it not be distributed.

The High Court on Wednesday found Moodie guilty of contempt of court, suspended him for three months, fined him and ordered him to pay costs.

Moodie announced after the ruling he would quit the law altogether, and end his cross-dressing protest because he no longer needed to appear "in a 19th-century Alice in Wonderland environment that allows pomp, self-importance and deference to the court to eclipse the truth."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I am mostly recovered from my marathon month of January finishing Little Shop of Murders. I think it's going to be a fun read.I can't wait for my publisher's feedback on revision suggestions.

We've kicked around some cover art ideas for the new book, and it's exciting to picture it as real.

And BrigaDOOM! About three weeks until we see it in the stores! I am beside myself with excitement.

Meanwhile, I have turned my hat around, and I'm on my way for the promotional part of the process. This will be a real learning curve, but then everything about writing and publishing seems to be that way.
Plus I'm percolating on the next book, my fingers are getting itchy to start.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

What I learned

So-- I haven't posted in a month because I've been completely holed up finishing Little Shop of Murders. I'm whipped. But I'm done!!
I learned a few things I didn't know before--

  1. One CAN write on demand and write fairly well on demand

  2. If you overcomplicate your plot, you may be making your life more difficult than necessary.

  3. Writing is a discipline.

  4. Sometimes you have to step away in order to be more productive.

  5. It feels really, really nice to meet a deadline with a book you feel good about.

  6. Sleep is optional.

  7. Caffeine comes in many forms.

  8. Christmas decorations begin to look tacky on Groundhog Day.

More later. I'm back to regular posts a few times a week now.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Second Chances

I was surfing through Salon.com and snatched this photo from http://www.fotolog.com/yolima/ posted with today's date in her fotolog. I have no idea where it was taken, but it was so perfect I had to shoplift it.

I personally love fresh starts and second chances--clean slates and blank pages waiting to be filled. I have yet to make my new year's resolutions or my goal lists. I certainly have a few in mind. Because I am finishing a book in January, and gearing up for the release of Brigadoom in March, it almost feels like my new year will come later. For now, in the month of January, I will keep on keeping on. And for 2007, I resolve to be kind to others and to myself.

Happy New Year everyone.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Deck something

Good morning folks!
Confession time.
I have been a real slacker in the writing department. At least in the new writing department.
I've had a few nips and tucks to make on the BrigaDOOM pages this week, and I partially revised a scene Tuesday for Little Shop. Yesterday, I did nada. Wednesday I did nada.
I'm not sure how today will go. It's this Christmas thing, dontcha know... I have a sleigh-full of family coming in for the holidays, and the things I've learned to tolerate around the house just aren't cutting it for the big-tent Christmas blowout extravaganza. Plus, there's the shopping, don't get me started on the shopping. And we don't even do many gifts!
Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas and once it's pulled together sometime around 11:59 on December 24th, I totally enjoy it.
Just kidding. Just kidding.
In the writing department, the lovely thing is that January stretches like a serene white wonderland after the silver, red, green, and gold of Christmas chaos, commercialism, and cheer. JaNoWriMo anyone?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Don't Look Down

There's a reason Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer chose this title for their collaborative mystery/adventure/romance novel. Aside form the obvious fact that much of it takes place on a very high bridge, I mean.

Any writer worth her salt knows that much of the writing process involves not looking down. Just like the highwire walker or steelworker painting the bridge, looking down at the failure potential does nothing but hinder us reaching our goal. Today, I will not look down. I will take several more steps toward the finished story and enjoy the breeze and the view from atop the highwire.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Slogging through the Nog

Someone is hovering around my computer. Looming is more like it. Oh look! It's the ghost of Christmas future. Very near, eighteen to twenty for dinner and fourteen overnight Christmas '06 blowout extravaganza future.
But, I am not taking the frosted and sprinkled warm gingerbread bait. I am continuing to do my book in progress for at least the next ten days on our extended NaNo December write-a-thon. That should give me a slab of story to set cooling on the windowsill over the holidays.
The website update is done, www.susangoodwill.com , the proofs of BrigaDOOM are done, the acknowledgement and dedication pages are done.
Now back to your regularly scheduled book in progress.
Today I will follow Annie Lamottt's advice. I'll just look for that one inch square of my story. Sometimes that's the only way to start.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

NaNo #25 Mystery Links

Well Folks,
It's the last day of my defunct and suspect "Zokuto Clause" NaNoWriMo experience. I must say I am thrilled with the results. It has been a great ride with a lot of support and commiseration from my fellow NaNo-ites. Some of us will be continuing to hold each other accountable through December. I look forward to that and to a (slightly) polished novel for beta readers by mid month.
I have a beginning middle and end to my story and am in the second draft (depending on where you look -- it might be the fortieth draft of some scenes and the first draft of others.) But folks, it has a beginning, middle, and end!Anyway, I found some cool links to give you today. You'll just have to trust me and click to see what's here. Hint: the last one is aWriters' Forensics Site, the first will tell you how to bury a clue.








Sunday, November 26, 2006

NaNo #24 Deadlines

At http://www.poewar.com/ over the weekend, I read an article by Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., about deadlines.

Deadlines are often thought of by writers as a bad thing. Susan suggests that they can be a positive thing when combined with the appropriate inner motivation. Rather than get one out of the "flow" or "zone", they may actually push the writer just enough to foster a flowing creativity.
Like NaNoWriMo, they can help develop discipline, motivate, and force that great debilitator perfectionism aside.
The trick, she says, is for the writer to know when the writing may be suffering due to the pressure of an unrealistic (at least for that writer) deadline and at that point speak up.

NaNo #23 Deconstructing Dead Men

I have a secret. I ripped up Dead Men. Okay, so here's the thing. I liked the plot, the pacing, and the subplot of Harley Jane Kozak's Dating Dead Men. I liked the characters and the humor.

It didn't hurt that it won the Macavity and the Anthony and a slew of other awards for best first novel. So what I did was, I tore it apart. I marked up my copy for plot, inciting incident, how characters were described when they were introduced. I rated scenes from 1 to 5 for action, pacing, conflict. I looked at chapter length, introduction of backstory, use of setting. I watched how the climax fell and what was tied up ahead of time and what after. I looked at the weak points and the strong points.
I did this with a few other books as well. Crusie and Evanovich and others.
And I'm about to do it again.
So, my tip today, is find an author you love and rip her a new one.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

NaN0 Tip #22 The more things change...

Wordcount today--42,000 Finish line in sight.

This comes from the Gotham Writers' Workshop site: http://www.writingclasses.com/index.php

It's interesting that a lot of the "tips" we use today haven't changed.

George Orwell has earned the right to be called one of the finer writers in the English language through such novels as 1984 and Animal Farm, such essays as “Shooting an Elephant,” and his memoir Down and Out in Paris.
George expressed a strong dislike of totalitarian governments in his work, but he was also passionate defender of good writing. Thus, you may want to hear some of George’s writing tips.*
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:
1. What am I trying to say?
2. What words will express it?
3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
And he will probably ask himself two more:
1. Could I put it more shortly?
2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?
One can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
* From “Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell.