Scottish Daily Mail
Dahl’s brutal tip for writer, 17
A BRUTALLY honest letter written by Roald Dahl to a teenager who asked him for advice on his A-level project has surfaced.
Budding writer Jay Williams wrote to the author in 1980 asking him to look at a short story he had written.
The 17-year- old did not expect a reply. But Mr Williams, who grew up near Carlisle, was delighted when he received a typed note signed by the man himself. However, in true Dahl style, there was a sting in the tail.
It began: ‘Dear Jay, You are asking too much of me. I get an awful lot of these letters. I have read your story. I don’t think it’s bad. Study Hemingway ... and learn how to write short sentences and how to eschew all those beastly adjectives.’
Mr Williams, now 51, and from Bristol, said: ‘After considering his advice, I have to admit it was probably fair and I’ve taken heed of it ever since.’