Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Not All Novelists Start a Book With a Plot in Mind

I don't plot. I don't sit down and plot a book. It sort of unreels as I write.

Nora Roberts 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Truman Capote On Sudden Fame

Most people who become suddenly famous overnight will find that they lose practically eighty percent of their friends. Your old friends just can't stand it for some reason.

Truman Capote

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Economics Of The Writing Profession

Being a writer is a little bit like being a shepherd: it's quaint, people envy the solitude, but everyone knows the real money in in synthetic fibers.

Rob Long  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

One Novelist's Opinion Of Book Reviewers

I have a friend who says that reviewers are the tickbirds of the literary rhinoceros--but he is being kind. Tickbirds perform a valuable  service to the rhino and the rhino hardly notices the birds.

John Irving 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Writers Like to Cry Over Their Beers About How Stressful It Is To Create

The attitude that writers are a special class, that really alienates me. They talk about stress and how awful it is to be a writer--you hear that talk a lot in Hollywood. I had to catch a flight out of L.A. at eleven the night before last, so I walk around a little bit goofy for a couple of days because I'm sleepy, but that is nothing like unloading trucks for 20 years.

Pete Dexter

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Novelists, Don't Misuse Dialogue

Dialogue presents a terrible temptation. It offers the writer a convenient platform from which to set forth his pet theories and ideas.

John Hersey 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Serious Writers Who Sell Out To Hollywood

Referring to serious writers who sell out to Hollywood, a character in Rod Serling's play Velvet Alley says: "They give you a thousand dollars a week [1960s] until that's what you need to live on. And then every day you live after that, you're afraid they'll take it away from you. It's all very scientific. It's based on the psychological fact that a man is a grubbing, hungry little sleaze. In twenty-four hours you can develop a taste for caviar. In forty-eight hours fish eggs are no longer a luxury, they're a necessity."

Rod Serling 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Advantage Of Writing Your Novel In The First Person

Just write your novel in the first person, and you won't be tempted to let the viewpoint wander. If your hero or heroine is "I" instead of "he" or "she," you'll never find yourself slipping into any other viewpoint accidentally, just because it makes the plot work out more easily. You're locked into one character for good or ill.

Donald Hamilton 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Finding The Talent To Write

I've been increasingly drawn to the belief that talent is much as I believe intuition to be, something accessible to everyone who takes the trouble to gain access to it.

Lawrence Block 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Is Everyone in Los Angeles a Screenwriter?

The screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker once said that no one in Los Angeles is ever more than fifty feet from a screenplay. They're stowed in the trunks of cars. In desk drawers at work. In laptop computers. Always ready to be pitched. A winning lottery ticket for its jackpot. An un-cashed paycheck.

Chuck Palachniuk 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Professional Versus Vocational Novelists

There's a difference between a vocation and a profession. A vocation is a calling--something you are called to do. A profession is something that you practice. In the United States, I think about 10 percent of the novelists writing actually make a living out of their novel writing. [It's more like 1 percent.] The others have the vocation, but they can only partly have the profession, because they have to spend the rest of their time making money in order to keep themselves in their habit. They are word junkies. They've got to pay for their fix. I chose university teaching because there is a long summer vacation, and also because you could fake it.

Margaret Atwood 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Novelist Joseph Heller's Work Habits

I work almost constantly. For a novelist without hobbies, weekends don't make much difference. Most people don't enjoy weekends anyway; they don't know what to do with Sundays.

Joseph Heller 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Creative People

Those of us who aspire to art--writers, painters, sculptors, designers--like to think of ourselves as creative individuals. The truth is, we are creative only because we create.

Rebecca McClanahan 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Selecting a Narrator For Your Story

Perhaps the single most important decision a writer makes when he begins a story is who the narrator is and where he's going to stand. The decision casts itself in the first sentence and is more complex than it seems on first sight. In making it, the writer answers a surprising number of questions, and those answers lay down the ground rules for the story he is writing. They will forecast the shape his story is going to take, and they will inform his style.

Kit Reed 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Talent To Right: A Gift Or Disease?

Personally, I think the talent to write is a disease, and the fact it produces books that people buy doesn't make it any more healthy.

James M. Cain 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Stamping Out The Desire To Write

Elementary, middle school, and high school teachers seem to play a big role in making it harder for people to write. Yet they can't quite stamp out the desire.

Peter Elbow 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sylvia Plath's Despair

Sometimes I feel so stupid and dull and uncreative that I am amazed when people tell me differently.

Sylvia Plath 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Creative Process

Many writers are reluctant to talk about the creative process--that is, how and where they get their talent, ideas, and inspiration to write. Many deny that talent is an inborn phenomenon, while others ridicule the notion that writers have to be inspired to create. Perhaps creativity is less a mystery than lack of creativity is. When a reader tells a writer that he can't image how one can produce a book, some writers may wonder how one cannot.

Jim Fisher 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Writer's Catch-22

I didn't want to write what people would pay me to write, and no one wanted to pay me for what I wanted to write.

Sophy Burnham 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Intelligence and Taste In The Movie Making Business

In the picture business intelligence and taste are to be found only among the office help.

Joseph Hansen 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

For Most Book Writers, Success, If It Ever Comes, Comes Slowly

You write one book and you're ready for fame and fortune. I don't know that people are spending the time and attention on learning how to write--which takes years. Everybody sees the success stories.

Sue Grafton 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Will To Write

The consensus seems to be that drive is surprisingly more important than talent in producing creative work.

Dr. Alice W. Flaherty 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Why Do Writers Write?

It is easy to lose sight of the fact that writers do not write to impart knowledge to others; rather, they write to inform themselves.

Judith Guest 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

William Faulkner on Inspiration to Write

I don't know anything about inspiration, because I don't know what inspiration is--I've heard about it, but I never saw it.

William Faulkner 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

How To Get The Reader's Attention

Show me a villain and I'll show you conflict. Show me conflict and I'll show you a struggle. Show me a struggle, and I'll show you drama. Show me drama, and I'll show you readers paying attention.

William Noble