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Recommended Books
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    The Sound on the Page: Great Writers Talk about Style and Voice in Writing
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    Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting
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    Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories
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    To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction
    by Phillip Lopate
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    Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
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    What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
    by Anne Bernays, Pamela Painter
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    The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
    by Steven Pressfield
  • Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do
    Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do
    Plume
  • Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews
    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 Writer on Her Work, Volume 1
    The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1
    by Janet Sternberg
  • 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's Legal Companion: The Complete Handbook For The Working Writer, Third Edition
    by Brad Bunnin, Peter Beren
  • A Writer's Reality
    A Writer's Reality
    by Mario Vargas Llosa
  • A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write
    A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write
    by Kenneth Atchity
  • Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past
    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
  • Writing for Your Life
    Writing for Your Life
    by Deena Metzger
  • The Writing Life
    The Writing Life
    by Annie Dillard
  • The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
    The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
    by Marie Arana
  • 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

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Saturday
Jul302016

The Secret of Good Writing

The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning that’s already in the verb, every passive construction that leaves the reader unsure of who is doing what—these are the thousand and one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence. And they usually occur in proportion to the education and rank.

WILLIAM ZINSSER

Friday
Jul292016

Look Back Upstream

Look back upstream. If you have come to your planned ending and it doesn’t seem to be working, run your eye up the page and the page before that. You may see that your best ending is somewhere in there, that you were finished before you thought you were.

JOHN McPHEE

Thursday
Jul282016

Five Common Traits of Good Writers

Five common traits of good writers:

(1) They have something to say.

(2) They read widely and have done so since childhood.

(3) They possess what Isaac Asimov calls a “capacity for clear thought,” able to go from point to point in an orderly sequence, an A to Z approach.

(4) They’re geniuses at putting their emotions into words.

(5) They possess an insatiable curiosity, constantly asking Why and How.

JAMES J. KILPATRICK

Wednesday
Jul272016

Don't Be Pretentious

“Don't be pretentious” is my first advice to young writers. This is the big problem — just because you're getting an MFA doesn't mean you have to write for the Academy. Be true to your personality. Don't temper your personality down with words. Don't build defensive fortresses around yourself with words — words are your friends.

GARY SHTEYNGART

Tuesday
Jul262016

Make Trouble for Your Character

When in doubt, make trouble for your character. Don’t let her stand on the edge of the pool, dipping her toe. Come up behind her and give her a good hard shove. That’s my advice to you now. Make trouble for your character. In life we try to avoid trouble. We chew on our choices endlessly. We go to shrinks, we talk to our friends. In fiction, this is deadly. Protagonists need to screw up, act impulsively, have enemies, get into TROUBLE.

JANET FITCH

Monday
Jul252016

What A Story Is, Is Devious

What a story is, is devious. It pretends transparency, forthrightness. It engages with ordinary people, ordinary matters, recognizable stuff. But this is all a masquerade. What good stories deal with is the horror and incomprehensibility of time, the dark encroachment of old catastrophes.

JOY WILLIAMS

Sunday
Jul242016

Great Themes Make Great Novels

They say great themes make great novels. That's so, of course, but what these young writers don't understand is that there is no greater theme than men and women.

JOHN O’HARA

Saturday
Jul232016

The Writer Trusts Nothing He Writes

The writer doesn't trust his enemies, of course, who are wrong about his writing, but he doesn't trust his friends, either, who he hopes are right. The writer trusts nothing he writes—it should be too reckless and alive for that, it should be beautiful and menacing and slightly out of his control. It should want to live itself somehow.

JOY WILLIAMS

Friday
Jul222016

A Story Is Like A Human Face

I’m trying to show the multiple variations of the entire life. I don’t want to be like other authors and say that there are only a few story lines in literature. A story is like a human face. We have as many stories as human faces. You might have similar facial features, but they’re all a little different.

SVETLANA ALEXIEVICH

Thursday
Jul212016

Writing Is Selection

Writing is selection. Just to start a piece of writing you have to choose one word and only one from more than a million in the language. Now keep going. What is your next word? Your next sentence, paragraph, section, chapter? Your next ball of fact. You select what goes in and you decide what stays out. At base you have only one criterion: If something interests you, it goes in—if not, it stays out. That’s a crude way to assess things, but it’s all you’ve got.

JOHN McPHEE

Wednesday
Jul202016

To Write English Is Not A Science But An Art

To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. There are no reliable words. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up.

GEORGE ORWELL

Tuesday
Jul192016

Be Faithful To Your Perceptions

It’s not that you get a cliché and then wiggle it about or use synonyms. You don’t take an ordinary decorative paragraph and give it style. What you’re trying to do is be faithful to your perceptions and transmit them as faithfully as you can. I say these sentences until they sound right. There’s no objective reason why they’re right. They just sound right to me.

MARTIN AMIS

Monday
Jul182016

Inspiration Is Merely A Pretty Phrase for Work

I have learned, as has many another better writer, to summon inspiration to my call as soon as I begin my day’s stint, and not to hang around waiting for it. Inspiration is merely a pretty phrase for work. And it can be cultivated by anyone who has the patience to try. Inspiration which will not come at its possessor’s summons is like a dog that cannot be trained to obey. The sooner the both are gotten rid of, the better.

ALBERT PAYSON TERHUNE

Sunday
Jul172016

There's Nothin' to Know

There's nothin' to know. You have an idea, you write down what you wanna say. Then you get somebody to add in the commas and shit where they belong, if you aren't positive yourself. Maybe fix up the spelling where you have some tricky words ... although I've seen scripts where I know words weren't spelled right and there was hardly any commas in it at all. So I don't think it's too important. Anyway, you come to the last page you write in 'Fade out' and that's the end, you're done.

“Bo Catlett” (Delroy Lindo) in Get Shorty, screenplay by Scott Frank, from the novel by Elmore Leonard

Saturday
Jul162016

The Answer is to Write

If you’re afraid you can’t write, the answer is to write. Every sentence you construct adds weight to the balance pan. If you’re afraid of what other people will think of your efforts, don’t show them until you write your way beyond your fear. If writing a book is impossible, write a chapter. If writing a chapter is impossible, write a page. If writing a page is impossible, write a paragraph. If writing a paragraph is impossible, write a sentence. If writing even a sentence is impossible, write a word and teach yourself everything there is to know about that word and then write another, connected word and see where their connection leads. A page a day is a book a year.

RICHARD RHODES

Friday
Jul152016

Writers Are Specialized Cells In the Social Organism

Writers are specialized cells in the social organism. They are evolutionary cells. Mankind is trying to become something else; it’s experimenting with new ideas all the time. And writers are a means of introducing new ideas into the society, and also a means of responding symbolically to life. I don’t think we’re in control of what we do.

KURT VONNEGUT

Thursday
Jul142016

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

Wednesday
Jul132016

Write What You Care About and Understand

All good books will eventually find a publisher if the writer tries hard enough, and a central secret to writing a good book is to write on that which people like you will enjoy. Write what you care about and understand.

RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON

Tuesday
Jul122016

As A Writer You Are Free

As a writer you are free. You are about the freest person that ever was. Your freedom is what you have bought with your solitude, your loneliness.

URSULA LE GUIN

Monday
Jul112016

You Write In Order to Change the World

You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can’t, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world.

JAMES BALDWIN

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