September 28, 2021
Dorothy Parker: If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.
Stephen King: The editor is always right. The corollary is that no writer will take all of his or her editor's advice; for all have sinned and fallen short of editorial perfection. Put another way, to write is human, to edit is divine.
Neil Gaiman: This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard.
George Orwell: Never use a long word when a short one will do.
Jodi Picoult: If you have a limited amount of time to write, you just sit down and do it. You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.
C.S. Lewis: Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible”, describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.”
John Steinbeck: The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid stable business.
Kurt Vonnegut: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.
William Goldman: Thou shalt not take the crisis out of the protagonist’s hands.
One of Pixar's storytelling rules: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
Paulo Coehlo on research: If you overload your book with a lot of research, you are going to be very boring to yourself and to your reader. Books are not there to show how intelligent you are. Books are there to show your soul.
Anne Lamott: Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you’re conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader.
Joyce Carol Oates: Be daring, take on anything. Don’t labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind.
Anne Rice: On writing, my advice is the same to all. If you want to be a writer, write. Write and write and write. If you stop, start again. Save everything that you write. If you feel blocked, write through it until you feel your creative juices flowing again. Write. Writing is what makes a writer, nothing more and nothing less.
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