Walter Lord’s grammar is straightforward, his vocabulary is conventional, his punctation is orthodox. Yet, every technical term he uses appears in a conventional dictionary. Sometimes, he bends the writer’s rules a tad. for instance, I came across this loud, yet subtle rule breaker, here when he begins a paragraph or even a sentence with a conjunction: “But most of the crew stuck to the ship.”
His writing is superbly concise; yet, also powerful and simple. In my opinion, good writing should present primarily what the author has to say, it should also do so effectively, and lastly, it should communicate clearly by making it easy enough for the reader to follow.
And when this can be achieved, by using fewer words, so much the better. To illustrate, consider the words of Lord in his book A Night To Remember:”What did you see?” asked a calm voice at the other end. “Iceberg rightahead,” replied Fleet. “Thank you,”acknowledged the voice with curiouslydetached courtesy. Nothing more was said.
While the drama, pertaining to the unfolding tale is fully captured, he conveys every historic event plainly and as a consequence, drags the reader into the raw emotion inherent to the drama in A Night To Remember. He knew, he had a remarkable story worth telling well, a tale without the accouterments is usually introduced to hike up the entertainment value, his, I call great writing.
Those familiar with my usual writing style, are aware that I’m no stranger to applying embellishments which, when used appropriately, actually enhance the quality of an interesting story. They may sometimes even be the hallmark of great literature which is used, for the aesthetics as well as for the enhancement of the information it imparts.
To me, Shakespeare’s plays are a great form of pure literature.
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