I know the last thing the world needs is another list of advice for authors-to-be, but there's some really good advice here, and this is, after all, a writing workshop. So... VS Naipaul’s Rules for Beginners 1. Do not write long sentences. A sentence should not have more than ten or twelve words. 2. Each sentence should make a clear statement. It should add to the statement that went before. A good paragraph is a series of clear, linked statements. 3. Do not use big words. If your computer tells you that your average word is more than five letters long, there is something wrong. The use of small words compels you to think about what you are writing. Even difficult ideas can be broken down into small words. 4. Never use words whose meaning you are not sure of. If you break this rule you should look for other work. 5. The beginner should avoid using adjectives, except those of colour, size and number. Use as few adverbs as possible. 6. Avoid the abstract. Always go for the concrete. 7. Every day, for six months at least, practice writing in this way. Small words; short, clear, concrete sentences. It may be awkward, but it’s training you in the use of language. It may even be getting rid of the bad language habits you picked up at the university. You may go beyond these rules after you have thoroughly understood and mastered them. I don't really agree with the first rule (and Naipul himself breaks it in the third rule), but besides that, I think this is a pretty great list. Especially #5. I think one of the easiest ways a lot of amateur work (and probably a lot of published work) could be improved is just by scrapping every adjective. And on reading it again, I feel like this advice works even better for poetry than prose, rules 3-6 in particular. Just really simple, obvious advice that is bound to improve almost any work it is applied to (which is why I like this more than a lot of similar lists). Anyway, since this is a discussion forum....thoughts?