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    What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
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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
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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
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    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
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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)
    Modern Library
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    The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1
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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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    A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write
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    Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Paperback)
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    Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
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    The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
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    The Writing of Fiction
    by Edith Wharton
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    Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print
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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
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    Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You
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QUOTE OF THE DAY

Tuesday
Oct112016

Work in the Morning

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.

COLM TÓIBÍN

Monday
Oct102016

Punctuation Ought to be as Conventional As Possible

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.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Sunday
Oct092016

There's No Such Thing As Nonfiction

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.

NORMAN MAILER

Saturday
Oct082016

A Writer's Time

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.

E.B. WHITE

Friday
Oct072016

Find the Music Inside Your Language

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.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

Thursday
Oct062016

Examine Your Motives

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.

NELL ZINK

Wednesday
Oct052016

Three Reasons for Becoming A Writer

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.

QUENTIN CRISP

Tuesday
Oct042016

The First Job Is To Entertain

A writer may have a message, an emotion, a philosophy to impart in his fiction, and these are the most marvelous kind of serendipity. But his first job is to entertain. To inform comes second. To entertain comes first.

HARLAN ELLISON

Monday
Oct032016

Learn to Write Dialogue

Learn to write dialogue. 
This involves more than I can discuss here, but do it. Read the writers of great prose dialogue–people like Robert Stone and Joan Didion. Compression, saying as little as possible, making everything carry much more than is actually said. Conflict. Dialogue as part of an ongoing world, not just voices in a dark room. Never say the obvious. Skip the meet and greet.

JANET FITCH

 

Sunday
Oct022016

If You Get Stuck

If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don't just stick there scowling at the problem. But don't make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people's words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.

HILARY MANTEL

Saturday
Oct012016

There Are No Rules

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

Friday
Sep302016

A Nonfiction Book Must Have A Dramatic Structure

A nonfiction book, especially if it’s on a complicated subject, must have a dramatic structure. If you’re writing a novel, the author has the advantage over the reader because the reader doesn’t know whether this figure’s going to be a hero or a villain, so you can do what you want with him. But if you’re writing a nonfiction work about famous and important people and about the major events in history, people know how it turned out. They know that Michelangelo was a great painter and that Picasso was going to one of the most famous painters in the world and so on. So the writer has to create what I would call a willing suspension of knowledge and make a drama of the facts of the past.

DANIEL BOORSTIN

Thursday
Sep292016

Don't Bend

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

FRANZ KAFKA

Wednesday
Sep282016

Write While the Heat is in You.

Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.

HENRY DAVID THOREAU

Tuesday
Sep272016

Dreaming Is the Day Job of Novelists

Dreaming is the day job of novelists, but sharing our dreams is a still more important task for us. We cannot be novelists without this sense of sharing something.

HARUKI MURAKAMI

Monday
Sep262016

Don’t Tell Anybody What Your Book Is About

Don’t tell anybody what your book is about and don’t show it until it’s finished. It’s not that anybody will steal your idea but that all the energy that goes into the writing of your story will be dissipated.

DAVID WALLECHINSKY

Sunday
Sep252016

A Work of Fiction Should Be A Journey Into the Unknown

A work of fiction should be, for its author, a journey into the unknown, and the prose should convey the difficulties of the journey.

ANTHONY BURGESS

Saturday
Sep242016

Have Adventures

Have adventures. The Hemingway mode was in ascendancy for decades before it was eclipsed by trendy fabulist “exercises.” The pendulum is swinging back, though, and it’s going to knock these effete eggheads right out of their Aeron chairs. Keep ahead of the curve. Get out and see the world. It’s not going to kill you to butch it up a tad. Book passage on a tramp steamer. Rustle up some dysentery; it’s worth it for the fever dreams alone. Lose a kidney in a knife fight. You’ll be glad you did.

COLSON WHITEHEAD

Friday
Sep232016

So Much About A Character Is Invisible

So much about a character is invisible, in fiction as in real life; but what lies beneath the surface will affect every aspect of your story. If you really take the time to figure out who you’re dealing with, much will become clear.

CLAIRE MESSUD

Thursday
Sep222016

Writing is Immensely Difficult. The Short Forms Especially

I had to write to the teacher when one of my children missed a day of school. It was my daughter, Caroline, who was then in the second or third grade. I was having my breakfast one morning when she appeared with her lunch box, her rain slicker, and everything, and she said, "I need an absence note for the teacher and the bus is coming in a few minutes." She gave me a pad and a pencil; even as a child she was very thoughtful. So I wrote down the date and I started, Dear Mrs. So-and-so, my daughter Caroline…and then I thought, No, that’s not right, obviously it’s my daughter Caroline. I tore that sheet off, and started again. Yesterday, my child . . . No, that wasn’t right either. Too much like a deposition. This went on until I heard a horn blowing outside. The child was in a state of panic. There was a pile of crumpled pages on the floor, and my wife was saying, “I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this.” She took the pad and pencil and dashed something off. I had been trying to write the perfect absence note. It was a very illuminating experience. Writing is immensely difficult. The short forms especially.

E.L. DOCTOROW

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