I Was All Set Until I Got to 19

The only known photo of HP Lovecraft smiling

The only known photo of HP Lovecraft smiling

I continue my tradition of presenting advice on writing from famous writers, with this essay by HP Lovecraft.  Obviously, I have a soft spot for him, and as we’ve established, he has a lean, mean writing style.  So I was pleased to see that I avoid all the errors he warns against, right up until I got to

Errors of taste, including vulgarisms, pompousness, repetition, vagueness, ambiguousness, colloquialism, bathos, bombast, pleonasm, tautology, harshness, mixed metaphor, and every sort of rhetorical awkwardness.

I’m fairly certain that I avoid tautology and mixed metaphor, but I definitely engage in vulgarisms, vagueness, colloquialism, and bathos, and Lord, the pleonasm.  The pleonasm!  And I’m afraid I fall short on point 20, too.  But really, this is some remarkably good advice.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a writer more precise about the way he used language, I think.



~ by smwilliams on January 17, 2013.