Four Questions to Writers
Eric Arthur Blair (June 1903 – January 1950), better known by the pen name of George Orwell, was an English novelist and journalist. Best known for the dystopian novel 1984 (written in 1949), Orwell’s work continues to influence popular and political culture. The term – Orwellian – is descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices. Times ranked him second in a list of The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
His advice to writers:
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions:
- What am I trying to say?
- What words will express it?
- What image or idiom will make it clear?
- Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
He would probably ask two more questions:
5. Could I put it more shortly?
6. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?
The advice to writers that he gave in his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language, is useful to writers of advertising copy too. Perhaps, we can add one more question in case of copy writers: Whom are we going to say to or Who are our target audience?