“Never read. This is very important. if you read books in order to improve your writing style, you will find yourself trying to write literature, instead of saying what you really mean. It’s very important not to get caught up trying to write better American prose. Don’t do any such thing. Just try to think, Am I saying what I mean? Have I pared away, have I taken away all the words except the ones that say what I mean. And then your writing will be fine. You have the most wonderful writers in America, really great stylists, people like Damon Runyon, and there’s no floweriness, no literary effect, in the work of Damon Runyon, he is as neat as he can possibly be. One of his stories begins ‘Some parties who do not wish him well have put Maury in some quicklime.’
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