space trilogy and non-fiction books, but I love hearing what captures other readers' imagination. Inevitably, Lewis' well known middle-grade series, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, will feature prominently.
If you haven't joined Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy on their fantastical adventures, it's time you did. A tromp through Narnia feels almost a rite of passage for children, and I have yet to meet a reader - child or adult - who, upon completion of the books, didn't wonder wistfully whether they might stumble across a portal to adventure in an otherworld. So I thought to put up today's post and invite you, Mayhem readers, to comment about your experience with Narnia as a middle-grade reader. Do you remember your reaction? What about teachers and librarians? Do you think today's readers are still drawn to the magic of Narnia?
And for the writers among us, I thought to share some of Lewis' no-nonsense writing advice found in his LETTERS TO CHILDREN. (If you haven't read this slim volume, it's great fun, as it includes reprints of his replies to fan letters, some of which include illustrations). Someone must have asked him for writing tips, and he responds:
"What really matters is: -
1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn't mean anything else.
2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don't implement promises, but keep them.
3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean "More people died" don't say "Mortality rose."
4. In writing. Don't use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was "terrible," describe it so that we'll be terrified. Don't say it was "delightful"; make us say "delightful" when we've read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers "Please will you do my job for me."
5. Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say "infinitely" when you mean" very"; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite."
Much more has and could be said about Lewis and his contribution to literature, but for now I'll conclude by expressing my gratitude, because his writing has nourished my imagination and spirit in profound ways. Cheers.