Tuesday, January 28, 2014

For what it's worth: Writing Secrets Of The Pros

According to the radio productions of The Chronicles Of Narnia*, C.S. Lewis, in writing The Silver Chair, faced this dilemma:
there is a scene where Puddleglum the Marsh-Wiggle puts out a fire by stamping on it with his foot, thereby dampening the magic spell the witch has them under.  After it was written, a friend of his pointed out that a wood fire wouldn't go dark after stomping on it, but would continue to glow.

Lewis then considered making it a peat fire, but couldn't remember if peat would glow after stomping (and was embarrassed, he later said, as an Irishman, to not know that).  He considered charcoal, but decided that wood and peat and charcoal were no good as the people of the Underworld would have to import them.  So he decided on coal, but then ultimately when the book was published, simply described the whole thing as "a fire" without getting into what was burning.

*The radio productions themselves are pretty enjoyable; I am listening to them on CD.  BUT, the voice of Aslan is among the top-10 most annoying things I have ever heard on radio or TV. It doesn't quite replace that little girl from The League, but it is VERY close.  (The little girl from The League might be beaten out by that annoying eHarmony grand-daughter with the fake babytalk, though.)**
**I got a little off track here. Sorry.

Writers: stuck on just how to burn your characters' feet? Don't fret it: lit, a place for stories, I'll pay you for any story -- even if you get the charcoal details wrong. I'm just cool that way.   Find out more about getting paid for your writing by clicking here. 


  1. Now that is how you do research! Good job, Lewis!

  2. I think I've done something like that a time or two.

  3. Lewis is also the one that said to stay away from italics in your writing. Probably not the only one, but the one I like to cite. He has good reasons for it, since, at one point, he did use italics and, later, decided that italics were a crutch and that a good writer would write his sentence in such a way as to imply emphasis rather than faking it by italicizing.

  4. I lean more towards the John Irving school of writing: lots of italics. And semicolons. I don't know how Irving felt about semicolons, but I love 'em.

  5. I was always scared of writing.Your post is of great help to me to overcome the fear and gives us a clear view as to which steps to take when how to present a paper