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Recommended Books
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    by Ambrose Bierce, Jan Freeman
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    The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the Twentieth Century's Preeminent Writers (Modern Library)
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    The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
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    The Writer's Legal Companion: The Complete Handbook For The Working Writer, Third Edition
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    The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
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    The Writing Life
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  • The Writing of Fiction
    The Writing of Fiction
    by Edith Wharton
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    Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print
    by Lawrence Block
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    Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life
    by Bonnie Friedman
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    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
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    Endangered Species: Writers Talk About Their Craft, Their Visions, Their Lives
    by Lawrence Grobel

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Wednesday
Mar212018

Change Things If Somebody Else Is Right

You have the right to not change anything, but don’t be a fool. Change things if somebody else is right. But if you do change something because somebody else is right, you must instantly take credit for it yourself. That’s very important.

EDWARD ALBEE

Tuesday
Mar202018

A Writer’s Life Is Half Ambition and Half Anxiety

A writer’s life is half ambition and half anxiety, and there has to be both. It is no good writing a novel and feeling fine, and it is no good writing a whole novel feeling miserable. It has to be both, that mixture of anxiety and ambition, and you get that with every novel, but more so when you write about these epics of human suffering. I felt that just as much when I wrote about the Gulag. Every writer knows what that is. The process goes…you have to think: “This novel I am writing is no good.” Then you have to think: “All my novels are no good.” And then, when you reach that point, you can begin.

MARTIN AMIS

Monday
Mar192018

A Pragmatic Approach to Backstory

I take a very pragmatic approach to backstory. I want to know what moment defined the character’s relationship to their parents, what moment defined their greatest desire, and what moment defined their greatest fear. Those three moments are most of what I need, because those three tell me where the character comes from, what they want, and what holds them back.

STANT LITORE

Sunday
Mar182018

There Are No Rules

There are no rules. It’s amazing how willing people are to tell you that you aren’t a real writer unless you conform to their clichés and their rules. My advice? Reject rules and critics out of hand. Define yourself. Do it your way. Make yourself the writer of your dreams.

ANNE RICE

Saturday
Mar172018

The Useless Days Will Add Up to Something

The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming

CHERYL STRAYED

Friday
Mar162018

Research Is Thrilling

For many writers, research is a big yawn. The past is a foreign country, and who cares how they do things differently there? Research is reading disintegrating papers in dusty libraries; sifting through shoe boxes in ancient attics; interviewing people who don’t know when to stop talking. But for biographers, research is thrilling. Reconstructing history is delicious. Research is where the story comes from; it’s the bits and pieces of the past we are trying to bring to life.

SUSAN CHEEVER                

Thursday
Mar152018

Rejection Has Value

Rejection has value. It teaches us when our work or our skillset is not good enough and must be made better. This is a powerful revelation, like the burning UFO wheel seen by the prophet Ezekiel, or like the McRib sandwich shaped like the Virgin Mary seen by the prophet Steve Jenkins. Rejection refines us. Those who fall prey to its enervating soul-sucking tentacles are doomed. Those who persist past it are survivors. Best ask yourself the question: what kind of writer are you? The kind who survives? Or the kind who gets asphyxiated by the tentacles of woe?

CHUCK WENDIG

Wednesday
Mar142018

Just Be Yourself

There are no rules. If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too? No. There are no rules except the ones you learned during your Show and Tell days. Have fun. If they don’t want to be friends with you, they’re not worth being friends with. Most of all, just be yourself.

COLSON WHITEHEAD

Tuesday
Mar132018

Storytelling Has a Shape

Storytelling has a shape. It dominates the way all stories are told and can be traced back not just to the Renaissance, but to the very beginnings of the recorded word. It’s a structure that we absorb avidly whether in art-house or airport form and it’s a shape that may be—though we must be careful—a universal archetype.

JOHN YORKE

Monday
Mar122018

The Act of Writing Is Its Own Reward

I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do — the actual act of writing — turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.

ANNE LAMOTT

Sunday
Mar112018

Writing Is a Muscle

Writing is a muscle. Smaller than a hamstring and slightly bigger than a bicep, and it needs to be exercised to get stronger. Think of your words as reps, your paragraphs as sets, your pages as daily workouts. Think of your laptop as a machine like the one at the gym where you open and close your inner thighs in front of everyone, exposing both your insecurities and your genitals. Because that is what writing is all about.

COLIN NISSAN

Saturday
Mar102018

Be Specific

Always assume the reader is at least as smart as you are. Show, Don’t Tell. It’s coaching, not teaching. Be specific. If you can’t paint a picture of it, it’s an abstraction. If you can paint a picture of it, it’s a specificity. Good writing is specific writing, and specific writing is good writing. Be specific. “No ideas but in things,” wrote William Carlos Williams—the five most golden words there ever were, for a writer. Don’t tell us it was hot, but instead, like Eudora Welty, remind us that the fading pink roses were the color of a bird dog’s panting tongue. That the ceaseless sound of the cicadas in the trees high overhead was like the sound of grain being poured into a metal bucket. Specificity is the lever, the pry bar, by which you lift up new universes and make readers believe all things.

RICK BASS

Friday
Mar092018

Exercising Is a Good Analogy for Writing

Exercising is a good analogy for writing. If you’re not used to exercising you want to avoid it forever. If you’re used to it, it feels uncomfortable and strange not to. No matter where you are in your writing career, the same is true for writing. Even fifteen minutes a day will keep you in the habit.

JENNIFER EGAN

Thursday
Mar082018

Develop Ease of Delivery

I’m a frotteur, someone who likes to rub words in his hand, to turn them around and feel them, to wonder if that really is the best word possible. Does that word in this sentence have any electric potential? Does it do anything? Too much electricity will make your reader’s hair frizzy. There’s a question of pacing. You want short sentences and long sentences—well, every writer knows that. You have to develop a certain ease of delivery and make your writing agreeable to read.

JAMES SALTER

Wednesday
Mar072018

Becoming a Writer Is Not a Career Decision

Becoming a writer is not a “career decision” like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don't choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accept the fact that you're not fit for anything else, you have to be prepared to walk a long, hard road for the rest of your days.

PAUL AUSTER

Tuesday
Mar062018

Be There to Write

Over the years, I’ve found one rule. It is the only one I give on those occasions when I talk about writing. A simple rule. If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write.

NORMAN MAILER

Monday
Mar052018

You Develop Empathy

When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, you develop empathy. You acquire the skill that is indispensable to all artists and entrepreneurs—the ability to switch back and forth in your imagination from your own point of view as writer/painter/seller to the point of view of your reader/gallery-goer/customer. You learn to ask yourself with every sentence and every phrase: Is this interesting? Is it fun or challenging or inventive? Am I giving the reader enough? Is she bored? Is she following where I want to lead her?

STEVEN PRESSFIELD

Sunday
Mar042018

Just Respond to the Energy of the Story

My general approach to writing fiction is that you try to have as few conceptual notions as possible and you just respond to the energy that the story is making rather than having a big over plan. I think if you have a big over plan, the danger is that you might just take your plan and then you bore everybody. I always joke that it’s like going on a date with index cards. You know, at 7:30 p.m. I should ask about her mother. You keep all the control to yourself but you are kind of insulting to the other person.

GEORGE SAUNDERS

Saturday
Mar032018

The Magic in Story Writing

If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that make a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story.

JOHN STEINBECK

Friday
Mar022018

Practice, Practice, Practice

What you want is practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter what we write (at least this is my view) at our age, so long as we write continually as well as we can. I feel that every time I write a page either of prose or of verse, with real effort, even if it’s thrown into the fire the next minute, I am so much further on.

C.S. LEWIS

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