Mark Twain’s Rules for Good Writing

I recently listened to “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” in my work truck. I couldn’t believe he had written it back in the 1870s. He had such a finger on the pulse of life, then and now, and his ability to craft distinctive voices for his characters and narrators was second to none. There is a reason Twain is  still considered one of the greatest of American writers.

Of course, he is probably most well known for being a great wit. In this post from the blog “Interesting Literature”, Twain skewers another famous, if less proficient, American writer.

Interesting Literature

Mark Twain’s 18 rules for writing – part of his response to the fiction of James Fenimore Cooper

Mark Twain (1835-1910) is the writer who once observed, ‘The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.’ (We include that pithy gem in our selection of Mark Twain’s best one-liners.) In his essay, ‘Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses‘ (1895), Twain took the author of The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans to task for his flawed writing style. Scathingly, but hilariously, he writes:

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