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Writing style: Words from the wise

Writing advice from the ancient Greeks stands the test of time, as author and lecturer James McCreet explains

The Greek thinkers tended to design holistic philosophies. Their systems demanded naturally interconnected ideas on physics, ethics and logic so that every aspect of their lives could be practically consistent. Good writing was no different.

Indeed, the Stoic philosophers drew up five categories of excellence by which to judge quality of expression. It was no use having fine thoughts if they risked being mangled by barbaric language. Today, their ideas still seem as eminently sensible as they were 25 centuries past. It’s worth looking at them in some detail for lessons that have certainly stood the test of time.

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About Writing Magazine

• STAR INTERVIEW WITH LEE CHILD, the multi-million selling creator of the Jack Reacher novels • Writing wisdom from the great Greek thinkers – rules that have stood the test of time • How to make your historical fiction stand out, and top tips on the genre from author Nicola Cornick • Study the short story masters to learn the art of the unreliable narrator • The magazine sleuth - how every magazine tells you exactly what its editor needs

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