Sunday, May 29, 2016

Avoid Award Winning Novels

Literary prize committees have always been unreliable judges of quality and any reader silly enough to buy a book for the stamp on the cover deserves a ghastly read.

B. R. Myers 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Second Novel Anxiety Syndrome

Some writers find their first novel, written on the sly during coffee breaks at their day job, easier than their second, with the success of the first has allowed them to become full-time professional writers, with all the attendant anxieties.

Dr. Alice W. Flaherty 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Finding Time To Write

Making writing a big deal tends to make writing difficult. Keeping writing casual tends to keep it possible. Nowhere is this more true than around the issue of time. One of the biggest myths about writing is that in order to do it we must have great swathes of uninterrupted time.

Julia Cameron 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Drinking And Writing

In 1978, I got sober. I discovered I associated writing and drinking a little bit like scotch and soda: They went together. I needed to find a method of writing that was more grounded.

Julia Cameron 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fiction Drawn From Reality

Almost anything drawn from "real life"--house, town, park, landscape--will certainly be found to require some distortion for the purpose of plot. Wholly invented scenes are as unsatisfactory (thin) as wholly invented physiques or characters.

Elizabeth Bowen 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

There Is No Secret Formula For How To Write For Publication

If writing could be reduced to a formula or algorithm, everyone would do it.

Jonathan Franzen 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Creative Writing Students All Write The Same Stories

It's often said of aspiring young writers in creative writing courses that they write the same six stories. Old man dies; old woman dies; why I hate my mother; why I hate my father; how I lost my virginity; how I tried to and failed. That's it.

George V. Higgins 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The MFA Professor

Most writers who teach in academia aren't really academics. The majority of people who teach in MFA programs, I think, tend to be working writers who just need the gig.

James Hynes 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Writers On Characters and Characterization

When discussing characters and characterization, principally in the context of fiction, writers speak of round versus flat characters, changing versus static characters, dull versus interesting characters, and characters drawn from real life versus characters entirely imagined. Writers who have developed the skill to create compelling characters have also mastered the crafts of dialogue and description. It seems that the relative focus on characterization, vis-a-vis plot, is one of the elements that distinguishes genre from serious fiction.

Jim Fisher 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Becoming More Than a One-Book Author

Anyone can become a writer. The trick is not in becoming a writer, it is staying a writer. Day after week after month after year. Staying in there for the long haul.

Harlan Ellison 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Turning Family Life Into Fiction

A would-be writer is supposed to have either a rich inner life or a rich outer one. I had neither. Still, I had to get material from someplace, and so I stole it, piecemeal, from my family.

Elizabeth McCracken 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Even Famous Novelists Are Kind Of Anonymous

Whatever fame a novelist may attain, it's always kind of an anonymous one. I can go anywhere, and no one knows who I am.

Jonathan Kellerman 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016

Some Novelists, Before They Start a New Book, Know How It Will End

I almost know how a book is going to end before I start. In most cases, I have a good last paragraph before I start on page one.

William Boyd 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Are Writers Suicidal?

Many people ask why a writer commits suicide. But I think that people who ask don't know the vanity and the nothingness of writing. I think it is very usual and natural for a writer to commit suicide, because in order to keep on writing he must be a very strong person.

Abe Kobo 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Why Writers Drink

I often wonder if all the writers who are alcoholics drink a lot because they aren't writing or having trouble writing. It is not because they are writers that they are drinking, but because they are writers who are not writing.

Natalie Goldberg 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Writing A Novel Can Be A Thankless Job

Writing novels is something you have to believe in to keep going. It's a fairly thankless job when no one is paying you to do it. And you don't really know if it's ever going to get into the bookshops.

J. K. Rowling 

Monday, May 9, 2016

In Writing, You Don't Have To Get It Right The First Time

The beautiful part about writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile.

Robert Cormier 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Achieving Literary Fame

My idea of fame is to get the books out to the pubic so they can read them.

T. C. Boyle 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Writing As A Reason To Live

Writing is the only thing that makes me feel I'm not wasting my time sticking around.

Ernest Hemingway 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Basing Fictitious Characters On Real People

In practice I prefer to draw a character from someone I hardly know.

Norman Mailer

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Note To Writers: Inspiration Alone Is Not Enough

Many undergrads hang on tenaciously to the conviction that literature is produced spontaneously through inspiration alone.

Martin Russ

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Daunting Prospect Of Writing a Novel

In case no one's noticed, a novel is long. The prospect of writing four hundred pages about something yet undiscovered is daunting at best. The first page is as far as many writers get, frozen as they are into a solid block of ice.

Sheldon Russell 

Monday, May 2, 2016

One Disadvantage of Writing in First Person

If a story centers on the narrator's ability to survive life-threatening dangers, some suspense will be lost in the first person because the character will have to survive to finish the story!

Sol Stein 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

In Fiction, Good Dialogue Is Action

Dialogue, when properly handled, is one of the most entertaining divisions of action. The man who speaks even one truly significant word is as much in action as the man who throws the villain over the cliff from the thundering express train.

Elwood Maren