SFH Favorite Collected Quotes On Mondays – Mark Twain

“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.”
 Mark Twain

I laughed when I first read this quote, and I have never forgotten the point. I have a shelf full of books on writing, and am happy to recommend  several of my favorites. Don’t Sabotage your Submission, by Chris Roerden, Stein on Writing by Sol Stein, and Write Away by Elizabeth George. I think it was Sol Stein who first brought my attention to writing  something is ‘very’…

Is something more beautiful if it very beautiful? More sad if very sad? More forgetful if very forgetful? You get the idea. Leave it to Mark Twain to come up with the idea of reminding yourself not to add the word ‘very’ by inserting ‘damn.’ Whatever works…just don’t write something is VERY….very often if at all!

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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7 Responses to SFH Favorite Collected Quotes On Mondays – Mark Twain

  1. I actually smiled after reading that quote. Oh, I do use “very,” not too much, but maybe I just haven’t noticed, really. I don’t use “damn” much, though. It has something to do with culture — it is a word that maybe considered vulgar by people where I am (not all, but anyway). Can’t say I haven’t used it, just that I refrain from using it unless it’s for dialogue in a fiction, to give emphasis on the type of characters and/or their emotions.

  2. Barbara Williamson says:

    Ha! Ha! Love this VERY VERY much!

  3. noelleg44 says:

    Like this d— much! What a great quote. Very slips in without my noticing it so I depend on my editor to X it out. Wonderful, fun post, Stepheny!

  4. johnvic8 says:

    A great reminder. Thanks.

  5. jazzfeathers says:

    I’m familiar with that Twain’s quote. And it’s spot on 😉

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