QUOTE OF THE DAY
There is such thing as too much revision—I’ve seen things that were amazing in the 17th version get flattened out in the 23rd—but nothing is born perfect. Well, some things almost are, but they’re freaks.
I tell my students that when you write, you should pretend you’re writing the best letter you ever wrote to the smartest friend you have. That way, you’ll never dumb things down. You won’t have to explain things that don’t need explaining. You’ll assume an intimacy and a natural shorthand, which is good because readers are smart and don’t wish to be condescended to.
Don't look back until you've written an entire draft, just begin each day from the last sentence you wrote the preceding day. This prevents those cringing feelings, and means that you have a substantial body of work before you get down to the real work which is all in...the edit.
The smaller the ball, the more formidable the literature. There are superb books about golf, very good books about baseball, not many good books about football or soccer, very few good books about basketball and no good books at all about beach balls.
The beginning of human knowledge is through the senses, and the fiction writer begins where the human perception begins. He appeals through the senses, and you cannot appeal through the senses with abstractions.
It’s such a tricky thing, being a screenwriter, a strange combination of talents. You have to have the instincts to want to express yourself like any writer, but at the same time you have to have a very powerful collaborative instinct.
There is no cure for writer's block. If it persists into the third day the writer must abandon all hope of authorship and go into the family business. Those who refuse this common sense alternative should identify the source of the block. When it is the result of fear the writer must complete the work and submit it even if humiliation and death are sure to follow. When it is the result of visceral disinterest, which sometimes emerges after agreeing to write something or other, it is better to own up frankly and abandon the work.
Work in the morning, a short break for lunch, work in the afternoon and then watch the six o'clock news and then go back to work until bed-time. Before bed, listen to Schubert, preferably some songs.
My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring in your own improvements.
My feeling is that there's no such thing as nonfiction. Everything is fiction, because in the moment someone tries to relate an experience of what happened to them, it's gone. The reality that was felt at the moment is almost impossible to describe. It's one reason why there are writers, to come close to how it felt when it happened.
There is nothing harder to estimate than a writer's time, nothing harder to keep track of. There are moments—moments of sustained creation—when his time is fairly valuable; and there are hours and hours when a writer's time isn't worth the paper he is not writing anything on.
I'm used to writing something, it becomes a record, it comes out. Then I go perform and I play it and I get this immediate feedback from the audience. So that's been the pattern of my life. But the book has been a little bit different, you know? I mean, you get feedback from the press. And the fans are just starting to get a chance to read it, so I'm looking forward to that. But you still had to find the music inside your language.
Examine your motives. Are you drawn to fiction writing because it can be performed cheaply at home? Are you an alcoholic looking for an excuse to sleep late? Writing is for compulsive storytellers. So are a lot of things—police work, diplomacy, counseling the needy, etc. Before you commit to writing as a career, make sure you’re not simply agoraphobic or depressed.
There are three reasons for becoming a writer: the first is that you need the money; the second, that you have something to say that you think the world should know; the third is that you can’t think of what to do with the long winter evenings.