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Recommended Books
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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
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    Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
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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
    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
  • The Writer's Legal Companion: The Complete Handbook For The Working Writer, Third Edition
    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

Monday
Sep302013

Write What You Wish to Write

So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its color, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery.

VIRGINIA WOOLF

Sunday
Sep292013

Character is the Very Life of Fiction

Character is the very life of fiction. Setting exists so that the character has someplace to stand. Plot exists so the character can discover what he is really like, forcing the character to choice and action. And theme exists only to make the character stand up and be somebody.

JOHN GARDNER

Saturday
Sep282013

Creativity is Paradoxical

Creativity is paradoxical. To create, a person must have knowledge but forget the knowledge, must see unexpected connections in things but not have a mental disorder, must work hard but spend time doing nothing as information incubates, must create many ideas yet most of them are useless, must look at the same thing as everyone else, yet see something different, must desire success but embrace failure, must be persistent but not stubborn, and must listen to experts but know how to disregard them.

MICHAEL MICHALKO

Friday
Sep272013

Writing A Novel Is Like Making A Movie

Writing a novel is like making a movie: All sorts of accidental things will happen after you’ve set up the cameras. So you get lucky. Something will happen at the edge of the set and perhaps you go with that. You come into it accidentally. You set the story in motion, and as you're watching this thing begin, all these opportunities will show up. So in order to exploit one thing or another, you may have to do research. You may have to find out more about Chinese immigrants, or you may have to find out about Halley’s Comet, or whatever, where you didn't realize that you were going to have Chinese or Halley’s Comet in the story. So you do research on that, and it implies more, and the deeper you get into the story, the more  it implies, the more suggestions it make on the plot. Toward the end, the ending becomes inevitable.

KURT VONNEGUT

Thursday
Sep262013

Do the Job All the Way Through

I've told every young writer I know to do the job all the way through, even if he thinks it’s no good. Then he’ll have the precedent of having finished a work. It isn’t unlikely that he’s been mistaken anyway. All writers are discontented with their work as it’s being made. That’s because they’re aware of a potential and believe they’re not reaching it. But the reader is not aware of the potential, so it makes no difference to him.

WILLIAM SAROYAN

 

Wednesday
Sep252013

E.M. Forster on Plot

"The king died and then the queen died" is a story. "The king died, and then the queen died of grief" is a plot...."The queen died, no one knew why, until it was discovered that it was through grief at the death of the king." This is a plot with a mystery in it, a form capable of high development.

E. M. FORSTER

Tuesday
Sep242013

The Pleasure is the Rewriting

I don't like to push forward with a story or novel unless it seems to me that the prose is strong enough to be permanent, even though I know very well that once the work is finished I will want to rewrite it. The pleasure is the rewriting. The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written. This is a koan-like statement, and I don't mean to sound needlessly obscure or mysterious, but it’s simply true. The completion of any work automatically necessitates its revisioning.

JOYCE CAROL OATES

Monday
Sep232013

Your Senses Must Be Razor-Sharp

In order to write at a high level of competence you need a comprehensive vocabulary, a keen sense of overall structure, and an inner beat or cadence. Your senses must be razor-sharp. Alcohol blunts those senses even as it releases self-restraint. Therefore many writers feel they are getting down to the real story after a belt or two, little realizing they are damaging their ability to tell the real story.

RITA MAE BROWN

Sunday
Sep222013

Character is the Very Life of Fiction

Character is the very life of fiction. Setting exists so that the character has someplace to stand. Plot exists so the character can discover what he is really like, forcing the character to choice and action. And theme exists only to make the character stand up and be somebody.

JOHN GARDNER

Saturday
Sep212013

The Truth Is We Write for Love

Despite all the cynical things writers have said about writing for money, the truth is we write for love. That is why it is so easy to exploit us. That is also why we pretend to be hard-boiled, saying things like “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money” (Samuel Johnson). Not true. No one but a blockhead ever wrote except for love. . . . You must do it for love. If you do it for money, no money will ever be enough, and eventually you will start imitating your first successes, straining hot water through the same old teabag. It doesn’t work with tea, and it doesn’t work with writing.

ERICA JONG

Saturday
Sep212013

Nobody "Invents" A Plot

There are techniques and skills to be learned for writing as in any profession or trade. All the stories fall into certain patterns of behavior that we call plots. Plots are nothing but a constantly recurring human situation, patterns of behavior. It’s my belief that 90% of all fiction is based on just 12 to 18 plots, and you can find them in any metropolitan newspaper in any given week. The same plots used by the ancient Greek dramatists were also used by Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens. Nobody “invents” a plot.

LOUIS L’AMOUR

Friday
Sep202013

People Read Fiction for Emotion

I was Sinclair Lewis's secretary-chess-opponent-chauffeur-protegé back when I was 24, and he told me sternly that if I could be anything else be it, but if I HAD to be a writer, I might make it. He also said, as he threw away the first 75 expository pages of my first novel: “People read fiction for emotion—not information.”

BARNABY CONRAD

Thursday
Sep192013

A Good Plot Is Like a Dream

To me, the most important and difficult thing about writing fiction is to find the plot. Good original plots are hard to come by. You never know when a lovely idea is going to flit suddenly into your mind, but by golly, when it does come along, you grab it with both hands and hold onto to it tight. The trick is to write it down at once, otherwise you'll forget it. A good plot is like a dream. If you don't write down your dream on paper the moment you wake up, the chances are you'll forget it, and it’ll be gone forever.

ROALD DAHL

Wednesday
Sep182013

Our Power is Patience

Our power is patience. We have discovered that writing allows even a stupid person to seem halfway intelligent, if only that person will write the same thought over and over again, improving it just a little bit each time. It is a lot like inflating a blimp with a bicycle pump. Anybody can do it. All it takes is time.

KURT VONNEGUT

Tuesday
Sep172013

Writers Should Not Be Encouraged

I decided a long time ago that writers should not be encouraged. They should be discouraged. That’s more helpful to a writer than encouragement, because I think he’s going to learn a lot more that way. If you're going to be a writer, you will be, encouraged or not.

ERSKINE CALDWELL

Monday
Sep162013

You Fail Only If You Stop Writing

If you write a hundred short stories and they’re all bad, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You fail only if you stop writing. I’ve written about 2,000 short stories; I’ve only published about 300 and I feel I’m still learning. Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.

RAY BRADBURY (1967)

Sunday
Sep152013

College Probably Won’t Hurt You

I don't think a college degree is necessary to become a good writer, I'm not even certain it's an advantage. College probably won’t hurt you—if you don't take it too seriously, But far more important, I believe, is broad general experience: living as active a life as possible, meeting all ranks of people, plenty of travel, trying your hand at various kinds of work, keeping your eyes, ears, and mind open, remembering what you observe, reading plenty of good books, and writing every day—simply writing.

EDWARD ABBEY

Saturday
Sep142013

Any Fiction Should Be A Story

Any fiction should be a story. In any story there are three elements: persons, a situation, and the fact that in the end something has changed. If nothing has changed, it isn’t a story.

MALCOLM COWLEY

Friday
Sep132013

The Secret of Short-Story Writing

I'll give you the sole secret of short-story writing, and here it is: Rule 1. Write stories that please yourself. There is no rule 2. The technical points you can get from Bliss Perry. If you can't write a story that pleases yourself, you will never please the public. But in writing the story forget the public.

O. HENRY

Thursday
Sep122013

Most Humor Depends on Specificity

Most humor depends on specificity. It’s funnier to say that a cheese steak tastes better when you’re leaning up against a Pontiac than when you are leaning up against a car.

CALVIN TRILLIN