A recommended book on writing, composition, and grammar is Writing and Thinking by Foerster and Steadman. I finally looked it up on the Internet Archive, and found it! Yay! I have known about that book for decades, but only now looked it up. I have studied parts of it, but not all of it, and I’m impressed with what I’ve seen. Good stuff.
THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION
WRITING and thinking are organically related to each other. This fact is at the heart of the problem of literary composition.
The problem confronting a person who sits down to write may be stated very simply: given, a thought or feeling; required, words that will express this thought or feeling and convey it to the reader unchanged. The solution may be stated just as simply: the words required for the expression of the thought or feeling are the words inherent in the thought or feeling itself. They are not cunningly devised by the writer, invented and arranged by him with a view to impressing the reader. He does nothing but find them in the place where they spring to life, i.e., in the mind.
Writing, in other words, should be organic, not mechanic. ‘The form is mechanic,’ says Coleridge, ‘when on any given material we impress a predetermined form’ — as when the gardener trims a cedar tree in order to force it into the unnatural form of a pyramid. ‘The organic form, on the other hand, is innate; it shapes, as it develops itself from within, and the fulness of its development is one and the same with the perfection of its outward form. Such as the life is, such is the form. Nature, the prime genial artist, inexhaustible in diverse powers, is equally inexhaustible in forms; each exterior is the physiognomy of the being within — its true image.’ Granted a favorable environment, the tree as Nature makes it — the cedar, the pine, the oak, the willow — assumes its proper shape as it develops itself from within. The mature tree is already implicit in the seed — in the acorn resides the grandeur of the oak. The kernel idea attains its necessary expression in the mature organism.
To write expressive sentences, therefore, we are to lean on the thought, deriving from it the power of utterance. The sentence is an organism, of which the soul is the thought, and the body the words. It is an embodied thought.