Thursday, August 19, 2010

More John Leo: good advice for young writers

Recently I recommended an essay by author John Leo, a man who has wisdom useful to young writers.

Here’s a longer piece by Mr. Leo. It’s a speech he delivered at Ursinus College in 2006. It combines good advice on the basics of writing and interesting background on how writing has changed over the last few generations.

As an example of change, the speech describes how the per-word pricing of telegrams inspired telegram senders to omit all unnecessary words. Occasionally, this “telegraphic” style caused amusing ambiguities, such as in this celebrated example:

When Cary Grant was abroad, a feature writer cabled him from New York to doublecheck his age. “How old Cary Grant?” asked the message. Grant cabled back, “Old Cary Grant fine. How you?”

The Takeaway: Read John Leo’s speech, “On Good Writing.” In only 3,250 words, it delivers a wealth of advice useful to young writers.

See disclaimer.

1 comment:

  1. I will read Leo's speech. Love this blog, it gives me hope to one day write something that will matter.