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janbb's avatar

What do you think of James Joyce’s advice to write as if each word costs you a shilling?

Asked by janbb (54951points) 1 month ago from iPhone

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23 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

“Brevity is the soul of clarity”
“When in doubt, take/leave it out”
“Assume your audience doesn’t have the patience to do your editing for you”

All of those from friends of mine who are successful authors. By “successful”, I mean all had books bought and published in paper, by reputable houses, before self-publishing became a thing.

Excellent advice for all forms of written expression.

chyna's avatar

I agree, brevity is so much better than droning on and on with “on the one hand, and on the other hand, but I actually don’t know the answer or how I really feel.”

janbb's avatar

@rebbel One shilling please!

ragingloli's avatar

tl;dr – The Internet.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I approve.

@janbb, the check is in the mail.

Demosthenes's avatar

Joyce must’ve been in quite a lot of debt following Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.

ragingloli's avatar

That is why she has not written anything for decades.

raum's avatar

Haha…I find it funny that the jelly that is often mistaken for a “he” is calling Joyce a “she”.

zenvelo's avatar

No wonder he was always broke.

flutherother's avatar

On the contrary, each word can earn you a shilling especially if you are J K Rowling.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@raum I don’t believe gender has been confirmed there.

raum's avatar

Joyce or loli?

rebbel's avatar


filmfann's avatar

Joyce should have spent a few more shillings to make his work easier to understand.

LuckyGuy's avatar


Pinguidchance's avatar

@janbb What do you think of James Joyce’s advice to write as if each word costs you a shilling?


“A friend came to visit James Joyce one day and found the great man sprawled across his writing desk in a posture of utter despair.

James, what’s wrong?’ the friend asked. ‘Is it the work?’

Joyce indicated assent without even raising his head to look at his friend. Of course it was the work; isn’t it always?

How many words did you get today?’ the friend pursued.

Joyce (still in despair, still sprawled facedown on his desk): ‘Seven.’

Seven? But James… that’s good, at least for you.’

Yes,’ Joyce said, finally looking up. ‘I suppose it is… but I don’t know what order they go in!”

Cupcake's avatar

I’m working on being wordier to fit into academia. Brevity suits me.

SmashTheState's avatar

As a published writer whose main influences include Dunsany, Le Fanu, and Lovecraft, I make no apologies for purple prose. If people don’t appreciate the desperate, cyclopean majesty of my Brobdignagian descriptive prowess, they may feel free to shut closed the dusty tome ensorcelled by my linguistic mastery.

flutherother's avatar

What, no Machen or C A Smith?

SmashTheState's avatar

More like Mervyn Peake and James Branch Cabell.

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