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Recommended Books
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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)
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    The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
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    The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1
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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 About Your Life: A Journey into the Past
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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
    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

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

Thursday
Mar012018

Don't Sit Down in the Middle of the Woods

Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.

MARGARET ATWOOD

Wednesday
Feb282018

Your Writing Room Should Be Private

Like your bedroom, your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream. Your schedule — in at about the same time every day, out when your thousand words are on paper or disk — exists in order to habituate yourself, to make yourself ready to dream just as you make yourself ready to sleep by going to bed at roughly the same time each night and following the same ritual as you go.

STEPHEN KING

Tuesday
Feb272018

Keep Your Paragraphs Short

Keep your paragraphs short. Writing is visual—it catches the eye before it has a chance to catch the brain. Short paragraphs put air around what you write and make it look inviting, whereas a long chunk of type can discourage a reader from even starting to read.

WILLIAM ZINSSER

Monday
Feb262018

First Draft: Let It Run

First draft: let it run. Turn all the knobs up to 11. Second draft: hell. Cut it down and cut it into shape. Third draft: comb its nose and blow its hair. I usually find that most of the book will have handed itself to me on that first draft.

TERRY PRATCHETT

Sunday
Feb252018

There's No Free Lunch

You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there's no free lunch. Writing is work. It's also gambling. You don't get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you're on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don't whine.

MARGARET ATWOOD

Saturday
Feb242018

Art Flies Around Truth

Art flies around truth, but with the definite intention of not getting burnt. Its capacity lies in finding in the dark void a place where the beam of light can be intensely caught, without this having been perceptible before.

FRANZ KAFKA

Friday
Feb232018

Most Critical Writing is Drivel

Most critical writing is drivel and half of it is dishonest. It is a short cut to oblivion, anyway. Thinking in terms of ideas destroys the power to think in terms of emotions and sensations.

RAYMOND CHANDLER

Thursday
Feb222018

We Invent Our Own Beauty

I'm trying to help us remember that we invent our own beauty and our own paths and our own crooked, weird ways of doing things, but that they're not nothing and they matter, too. We're the half of culture that doesn't take the paths that are sitting right in front of us. Our song may be a little off-key, but it's a kind of beauty, too.

LIDIA YUKNAVITCH

Wednesday
Feb212018

The Secret of Popular Writing

The secret of popular writing is never to put more on a given page than the common reader can lap off it with no strain whatsoever on his habitually slack attention.

EZRA POUND

Tuesday
Feb202018

You Are on the Lookout for Experience, Strength, and Hope

You are on the lookout for experience, strength, and hope. You want to hear from the horse’s mouth exactly how disappointments have been survived. It helps to know that the greats have had hard times too and that your own hard times merely make you part of the club.

JULIA CAMERON

Monday
Feb192018

Be a Good Steward of Your Gifts

Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.

JANE KENYON

Sunday
Feb182018

You Are Always Bad Before You Can Get a Little Better

I have so little control over the act of writing that it's all I can do to remain conscious. Actual formal considerations are almost beyond my capacity. Before I sat down and became a writer, before I began to do it habitually and for my living, there was a decades-long stretch when I was terrified that it would suck, so I didn't write. I think that marks a lot of people, a real terror at being bad at something, and unfortunately you are always bad before you can get a little better.

DAVID RAKOFF

Saturday
Feb172018

Active Verbs, Not Passive Verbs

Your best tools are short, plain, Anglo-Saxon verbs. I mean active verbs, not passive verbs. If you could write an article using only active verbs, your article would automatically have clarity and warmth and vigor.

WILLIAM ZINSSER

Friday
Feb162018

Our Friend, the Semicolon

Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines farther on, and it is like climbing a steep path through woods and seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.

LEWIS THOMAS

Thursday
Feb152018

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

Wednesday
Feb142018

It's Like Boiling Down

It’s like boiling down. Four pages can go through six, eight, ten drafts to get down. The beginning is always rewritten much more than the rest, because it’s the setting up of information as well as the telling of the story—that’s always much harder to juggle.

SUSAN MINOT

Tuesday
Feb132018

Marry Experience with Imagination

Saying “write what you know” limits us from the outset -- we only “know” a limited number of things, after all. I know the smell of honeysuckle on a summer’s day. I know what it’s like to have a toddler, to be a terrible bowler, to slurp up gin from my rat’s nest of a beard so as not to waste its herbal booziness. We should certainly write our experiences, but we cannot limit ourselves only to that. We should be encouraged then to have new experiences. To know and learn -- gasp! -- new things. Write with authority and authenticity. Marry experience with imagination in a ceremony upon the story’s page.

CHUCK WENDIG

Monday
Feb122018

Go Against the Devils

Write against patterns. Go against the devils. Write what you never write. Lie. Validate what you don’t validate. Indulge what you don’t like. Wallow in it. Write the opposite of what you always write, think, speak. Do everything against the grain!

DEENA METZGER

Sunday
Feb112018

There Is No Such Thing As Writer's Block

My prescription for writer’s block is to face the fact that there is no such thing…. Writing well is difficult, but one can always write something. And then, with a lot of work, make it better. It’s a question of having enough will and ambition, not of hoping to evade this mysterious hysteria people are always talking about.

THOMAS MALLON

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