Sunday, September 11, 2016


If you can't explain something in a few words, try fewer.
― Robert Brault

When Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage appeared in 1895, reviewers sang the writer's praises.

"They all insist that I am a veteran of the Civil War," he told fellow journalist John Hilliard, "whereas the fact is, as you know, I never smelled even the powder of a sham battle."

The story succeeded, Crane said, not because he wrote from observation, but because, "I endeavored to express myself in the simplest and most concise way."

He told Hilliard his goal, following Emerson's advice, was to leave unsaid the "long logic beneath the story."

"My chiefest desire was to write plainly and unmistakably, so that all men (and some women) might read and understand. That, to my mind, is good writing."
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