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Recommended Books
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    What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
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    Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
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    The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
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    Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do
    Plume
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    Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews
    Modern Library
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    The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to): Guide to the Legal and Business Practices of Writing for the Entertainment Industry
    by Brooke A. Wharton
  • Ambrose Bierce's Write It Right: The Celebrated Cynic's Language Peeves Deciphered, Appraised, and Annotated for 21st-Century Readers
    Ambrose Bierce's Write It Right: The Celebrated Cynic's Language Peeves Deciphered, Appraised, and Annotated for 21st-Century Readers
    by Ambrose Bierce, Jan Freeman
  • The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the Twentieth Century's Preeminent Writers (Modern Library)
    The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the Twentieth Century's Preeminent Writers (Modern Library)
    Modern Library
  • The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
    The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
    by Christopher Vogler
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    The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1
    by Janet Sternberg
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    The Writer's Legal Companion: The Complete Handbook For The Working Writer, Third Edition
    by Brad Bunnin, Peter Beren
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    A Writer's Reality
    by Mario Vargas Llosa
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    A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write
    by Kenneth Atchity
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    Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past
    by William Zinsser
  • Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Paperback)
    Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Paperback)
    by Natalie Goldberg (Author)
  • Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
    Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
    by L. Rust Hills
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    Writing for Your Life
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    The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
    by Marie Arana
  • The Writing Life
    The Writing Life
    by Annie Dillard
  • The Writing of Fiction
    The Writing of Fiction
    by Edith Wharton
  • Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print
    Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print
    by Lawrence Block
  • Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life
    Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life
    by Bonnie Friedman
  • You're a Genius All the Time: Belief and Technique for Modern Prose
    You're a Genius All the Time: Belief and Technique for Modern Prose
    by Regina Weinreich, Jack Kerouac
  • Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You
    Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You
    by Ray Bradbury
  • Endangered Species: Writers Talk About Their Craft, Their Visions, Their Lives
    Endangered Species: Writers Talk About Their Craft, Their Visions, Their Lives
    by Lawrence Grobel

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Wednesday
Nov082017

Stories Are Compasses and Architecture

Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and our prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of a world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice. To love someone is to put yourself in their story, or figure out how to tell yourself their story.

REBECCA SOLNIT

Tuesday
Nov072017

Respect Your First Draft!

Respect your first draft! It’s your child, just a little uncoordinated and unkempt. Don’t throw that baby out with the bathwater. The fact that you wrote it makes it significant. You must have been trying to say something, even though the manuscript may look like subliterate Sanskrit to you now.

CAROLYN SEE

Monday
Nov062017

Don't Wrestle with the Muse

I don’t go up against my writing and come out bloody-knuckled. I don’t wrestle with the muse. I don’t argue. I try to get away from self-hatred, and competition, all those things that mark and mar so many writers’ careers and lives. I try to remain stubborn in my gladness.

ELIZABETH GILBERT

Sunday
Nov052017

Find the Universal in the Local

As a writer one doesn’t belong anywhere. Fiction writers, I think, are even more outside the pale, necessarily on the edge of society. Because society and people are our meat, one really doesn’t belong in the midst of society. The great challenge in writing is always to find the universal in the local, the parochial. And to do that, one needs distance.

WILLIAM TREVOR

Saturday
Nov042017

You Expect Far Too Much of a First Sentence

You expect far too much of a first sentence. Think of it as analogous to a good country breakfast: what we want is something simple, but nourishing to the imagination. Hold the philosophy, hold the adjectives, just give us a plain subject and verb and perhaps a wholesome, nonfattening adverb or two.

LARRY McMURTRY

Friday
Nov032017

Don't Panic

Don't panic. Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends' embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce . . . Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way. And if all else fails, there's prayer. St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, has often helped me out in a crisis. If you want to spread your net more widely, you could try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, too.

SARAH WATERS

Thursday
Nov022017

A Book Must Be the Axe for the Frozen Sea Inside Us

We need the books that affect us like disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.

FRANZ KAFKA

Wednesday
Nov012017

Be Ruthless About Protecting Writing Days

Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have "essential" and "long overdue" meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.

J.K. ROWLING

Tuesday
Oct312017

Fiction Is Democratic

What we call fiction is the ancient way of knowing, the total discourse that antedates all the special vocabularies.... Fiction is democratic, it reasserts the authority of the single mind to make and remake the world.

E.L. DOCTOROW

Monday
Oct302017

Writing Is an Internal Dialogue

A book might reach out to someone else at some point, after years, or maybe never at all, but it is not up to me to write with this idea in mind. Writing is, above all, an internal dialogue.

JHUMPA LAHIRI

Sunday
Oct292017

Inspiration Does Not Come Like a Bolt

Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.

BRENDA UELAND

Saturday
Oct282017

All Good Books Are Alike

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Friday
Oct272017

Read Your Work Aloud!

Read your work aloud! This is the best advice I can give. When you read aloud you find out how much can be cut, how much is unnecessary. You hear how the story flows. And nothing teaches you as much about writing dialogue as listening to it.

JUDY BLUME

Thursday
Oct262017

Write Without Thinking of the Result

Write without thinking of the result in terms of a result, but think of the writing in terms of discovery, which is to say that creation must take place between the pen and the paper, not before in a thought or afterwards in a recasting. It will come if it is there and if you will let it come.

GERTRUDE STEIN

Wednesday
Oct252017

Trust Your Imagination

The way I write, the way I encourage people I work with to try to write is exactly this: Trust your imagination. Free fall into it. See where it brings you to. It’s scary, it’s unorganized, and you’re going to have to prepare yourself for some major fucking rewriting—and maybe cut two years of work.

ANDRE DUBUS III

Tuesday
Oct242017

Look in the Unexpected Places

I try to see as much as possible—in microscopic detail. I have an exercise that helps me with this, using old family photographs. I’ll blow an image up as much as I can, and work through it pixel by pixel. This isn’t the way we typically look at pictures—where we take in the whole gestalt, eyes focusing mostly on the central image. I’ll start at, say, a corner, looking at every detail. And the strangest things happen: you end up noticing things you never would have noticed. Sometimes, I’ve discovered crucial, overlooked details that are important to my family’s story. This process is a metaphor for the way I work—it’s the same process of looking closely, looking carefully, looking in the unexpected places, and being receptive to what you find there.

AMY TAN

Monday
Oct232017

Voice Is the Music of the Story's Intelligence

I think voice is the music of the story's intelligence, that the voice of a novel, the voice of a story, is not the speaking voice of Frank Bascombe but it is something a good bit more complex. It is how a novel sounds when it is doing its most important business on you, when it is, as novels do, as poems do. Novels lean on us. They are artifice. They are rhetorical. They are trying to affect us and change us. And that's what I hear, what I understand, when I use the word “voice.”

RICHARD FORD

Sunday
Oct222017

Poetry Takes Care of Itself

Poetry takes care of itself. All art does — that is paramount. In a survival race, I’m quite sure poetry will long outlast reality TV and Twitter.

ROBERT PINSKY

Saturday
Oct212017

The Fiction Writer's Bravery

A novel, in its truest form, is a questioning of what it means to be human, of what a life is. But what makes it different from, say, a work of philosophical inquiry is, among other things, the way it uses (or misuses, or differently uses) language and, second, the particular sense of discomfiture it can provide. Not that a novel needs to disturb or dismay or unsettle in order to mesmerize or provoke, but it does, or should, force us to reconsider, to rethink. The fiction writer’s bravery, then, is her dedication to never second-guessing the reader, even at the risk of her own book’s likability; the reader’s bravery is allowing himself to trust the writer, to surrender himself to the world she has created.

HANYA YANAGIHARA

Friday
Oct202017

Writing Advice Is Not a Treasure Map

Writing advice is not a treasure map with a chest of gold under a big red "X"— it’s less recipe for success and more menu of food items you find may suit you.

CHUCK WENDIG