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Recommended Books
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QUOTE OF THE DAY

Wednesday
Jan022019

You Have to Listen to Everyone

From my childhood, I remember talking to people, and the stories they told me were more interesting than what’s in books. People tell me extraordinary things, and I realize that there is nothing in the world about which we know anything for sure. Each person screams out his or her truth. You have to listen to everyone. As an artist, you have to listen to both the executioner and the victim.

SVETLANA ALEXIEVICH

Tuesday
Jan012019

Live Before You Write

Spend some time living before you start writing. What I find to be very bad advice is the snappy little sentence, “Write what you know.” It is the most tiresome and stupid advice that could possibly be given. If we write simply about what we know we never grow. We don't develop any facility for languages, or an interest in others, or a desire to travel and explore and face experience head-on. We just coil tighter and tighter into our boring little selves. What one should write about is what interests one.

ANNIE PROULX

Monday
Dec312018

The Page Will Teach You to Write

Who will teach me to write? a reader wanted to know. The page, the page, the blankness of eternity which you cover slowly, affirming time’s scrawl as a right and your daring as necessity; the page, which you cover woodenly, ruining it, but asserting your freedom and power to act, acknowledging that you ruin everything you touch but touching it nevertheless, because acting is better than being here in mere opacity; the page, which you cover slowly with the crabbed thread of your gut; the page in the purity of its possibilities; the page of your death, against which you pit such flawed excellences as you can muster with all your life’s strength: that page will teach you to write.

ANNIE DILLARD

Sunday
Dec302018

Don't Be Thin-Skinned

Try to develop steady work habits, maybe a more modest quota, but keep to it. Don’t be thin-skinned or easily discouraged because it’s an odds-long proposition; all of the arts are. Many are called, few are chosen, but it might be you.

JOHN UPDIKE

Saturday
Dec292018

Have No Unreasonable Fear of Repetition

Have no unreasonable fear of repetition. True, the repetition of a particular word several times in the same paragraph can strike a jarring note, but ordinarily the problem arises differently. The story is told of a feature writer who was doing a piece on the United Fruit Company. He spoke of bananas once; he spoke of bananas twice; he spoke of bananas yet a third time, and now he was desperate. “The world’s leading shippers of the elongated yellow fruit,” he wrote. A fourth banana would have been better.

JAMES J. KILPATRICK

Friday
Dec282018

Do What Works

There are so many different kinds of writing and so many ways to work that the only rule is this: do what works. Almost everything has been tried and found to succeed for somebody. The methods, even the ideas, of successful writers contradict each other in a most heartening way, and the only element I find common to all successful writers is persistence—an overwhelming determination to succeed.

SOPHY BURNHAM

Thursday
Dec272018

How to Write Good

Avoid run-on sentences that are hard to read.

No sentence fragments.

It behooves us to avoid archaisms.

Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.

Don't use no double negatives.

If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, "Resist hyperbole."

Avoid commas, that are not necessary.

Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

Writing carefully, dangling participles should not be used.

Kill all exclamation points!! 

Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Take the bull by the hand and don't mix metaphors.

Don't verb nouns.

Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague.

WILLIAM SAFIRE

Wednesday
Dec262018

Books Are Humanity in Print

Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, "Lighthouses" as the poet said "erected in the sea of time." They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER

Tuesday
Dec252018

Art Is Work

If you have to find devices to coax yourself to stay focused on writing, perhaps you should not be writing what you're writing. And if this lack of motivation is a constant problem, perhaps writing is not your forte. I mean, what is the problem? If writing bores you, that is pretty fatal. If that is not the case, but you find that it is hard going and it just doesn't flow, well, what did you expect? It is work; art is work.

URSULA K. LE GUIN

Monday
Dec242018

May You Live with Hysteria

May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories—science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.

RAY BRADBURY

Sunday
Dec232018

Vigorous Writing Is Concise

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

WILLIAM STRUNK, JR.

Saturday
Dec222018

Think Small

Write about small, self-contained incidents that are still vivid in your memory. If you remember them, it’s because they contain a larger truth that your readers will recognize in their own lives. Think small and you’ll wind up finding the big themes in your family saga.

WILLIAM ZINSSER

Friday
Dec212018

Most Interviews Should Be Done in Person

I think most interviews should be done in person. I think it’s great fun. I think you interview better when you see someone. As you show up, you get a higher validation. You've made the effort to come to their house, you see people. It’s more fun. The real fun is in doing the interviews.

DAVID HALBERSTAM

Thursday
Dec202018

Good Writing Never Soothes or Comforts

Good writing never soothes or comforts. It is no prescription, neither is it diversionary, although it can and should enchant while it explodes in the reader's face. Whenever the writer writes, it's always three or four or five o'clock in the morning in his head. Those horrid hours are the writer's days and nights when he is writing.

JOY WILLIAMS

Wednesday
Dec192018

It's Like Wrestling

It is like wrestling; you are wrestling with ideas and with the story. There is a lot of energy required. At the same time, it is exciting. So it is both difficult and easy. What you must accept is that your life is not going to be the same while you are writing. I have said in the kind of exaggerated manner of writers and prophets that writing, for me, is like receiving a term of imprisonment — you know that’s what you’re in for, for whatever time it takes.

CHINUA ACHEBE

Tuesday
Dec182018

You Always Have to Leave Something Out

It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because of what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many.

MARGARET ATWOOD

Monday
Dec172018

Creativity Is Paradoxical

Creativity is paradoxical. To create, a person must have knowledge but forget the knowledge, must see unexpected connections in things but not have a mental disorder, must work hard but spend time doing nothing as information incubates, must create many ideas yet most of them are useless, must look at the same thing as everyone else, yet see something different, must desire success but embrace failure, must be persistent but not stubborn, and must listen to experts but know how to disregard them.

MICHAEL MICHALKO

Sunday
Dec162018

Read Bad Stuff

If you are going to learn from other writers don’t only read the great ones, because if you do that you’ll get so filled with despair and the fear that you’ll never be able to do anywhere near as well as they did that you’ll stop writing. I recommend that you read a lot of bad stuff, too. It’s very encouraging. “Hey, I can do so much better than this.” Read the greatest stuff but read the stuff that isn’t so great, too. Great stuff is very discouraging.

EDWARD ALBEE

Saturday
Dec152018

Beware of the Metaphor

Beware of the metaphor. It is the spirit of good prose. It gives the reader a picture, a glimpse of what the subject really looks like to the writer. But it is dangerous, can easily get tangled and insistent, and more so when it almost works: don’t have a violent explosion pave the way for a new growth.

SHERIDAN BAKER

Friday
Dec142018

Don't Write a Novel

If you want to be remembered as a clever person and even as a benefactor of humanity, don't write a novel, or even talk about it; instead, compile tables of compound interest, assemble weather data running back seventy-five years, or develop in tabular form improved actuarial information. All more useful than anything "creative" most people could come up with, and less likely to subject the author to neglect, if not ridicule and contempt. In addition, it will be found that most people who seek attention and regard by announcing that they're writing a novel are actually so devoid of narrative talent that they can't hold the attention of a dinner table for thirty seconds, even with a dirty joke.

PAUL FUSSELL