Mark Twain on do’s and don’ts of writing

Mark_TwainMark Twain shaped the American literature in its formative years. He created a language style of his own, peppered with humor, sarcasm and social criticism. Some of his best known works include, Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

  1. Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very.” Your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
  2. Write without pay until somebody offers to pay.
  3. The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say.
  4. Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.
  5. It was by accident that I found out that a book is pretty sure to get tired along about the middle and refuse to go on with its work until its powers and its interest should have been refreshed by a rest and its depleted stock of raw materials reinforced by lapse of time.
  6. Great books are weighed online casino and measured by their style and matter, and not the trimmings and shadings of their grammar.
  7. As to the Adjective: when in doubt, strike it out.
  8. I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English–it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in.
  9. Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
  10. I don’t give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.
  11. The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
  12. The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.

Author Profile

India Writes Network
India Writes Network
India Writes Network ( is an emerging think tank and a media-publishing company focused on international affairs & the India Story. A venture of TGII Media Private Limited, a leading media, publishing and consultancy company, IWN has carved a niche for balanced and exhaustive reporting and analysis of international affairs. Eminent personalities, politicians, diplomats, authors, strategy gurus and news-makers have contributed to India Writes Network, as also “India and the World,” a magazine focused on global affairs. The Global Insights India (TGII) is the research arm of India Writes Network. To subscribe to India and the World, write to