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Recommended Books
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  • Adventures in the Screen Trade
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  • APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
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  • The Art of Fiction: Illustrated from Classic and Modern Texts
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  • The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers
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  • The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present
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  • The Associated Press Stylebook 2009 (Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law)
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  • Aspects of the Novel
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  • Becoming a Writer
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  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
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  • Booknotes: America's Finest Authors on Reading, Writing, and the Power of Ideas
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  • The Careful Writer
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  • The Craft of Fiction
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  • Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir
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    Making a Literary Life
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    Master Class: Scenes from a Fiction Workshop
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    The Oxford Dictionary of Allusions (Oxford Paperback Reference)
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    The Paris Review Interviews, Vols. 1-4
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    Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.)
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    The Rhetoric of Fiction
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    The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life
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    Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print
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    Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, 16th Edition: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (Self Publishing Manual)
    by Dan Poynter
  • Simple & Direct
    Simple & Direct
    by Jacques Barzun
  • Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences
    Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences
    by Kitty Burns Florey
  • The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative
    The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative
    by Vivian Gornick
  • The Sound on the Page: Great Writers Talk about Style and Voice in Writing
    The Sound on the Page: Great Writers Talk about Style and Voice in Writing
    by Ben Yagoda
  • Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting
    Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting
    by Robert Mckee
  • Stylish Academic Writing
    Stylish Academic Writing
    by Helen Sword
  • Successful Television Writing
    Successful Television Writing
    by Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin
  • The Summing Up
    The Summing Up
    by W. Somerset Maugham
  • 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
    13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
    by Jane Smiley
  • Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories
    Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories
    by Peter Hanson, Paul Robert Herman
  • To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction
    To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction
    by Phillip Lopate
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
    Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
    by Scott Mccloud
  • What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
    What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
    by Anne Bernays, Pamela Painter
  • The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
    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
  • The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to): Guide to the Legal and Business Practices of Writing for the Entertainment Industry
    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
Feb282011

All Writing Problems Are Psychological

All writing problems are psychological problems. Blocks usually stem from the fear of being judged. If you imagine the world listening, you’ll never write a line. That’s why privacy is so important. You should write first drafts as if they will never be shown to anyone.

ERICA JONG

Sunday
Feb272011

If the Writing Is Great, You Always Get Into the Game

I always get in trouble when I say this: I believe there is no great screenplay that hasn’t at least been optioned. I believe there is no great screenplay that doesn’t get the writer into the business. Most screenplays are mediocre or just okay. Really great writing always, always gets noticed in Hollywood. When I hear someone say, “It’s who you know,” or “I couldn’t get it to the right agent,” that is the consolation of failure. When it really works, it might not get made, because you need a Jupiter effect of a perfect director and a perfect actor—but if the writing is great, you always get into the game.

MARK D. ROSENTHAL

Saturday
Feb262011

Never Interrupt Yourself

A cardinal rule of writing is never interrupt yourself to explain something. If you must bring up an obscure topic, drop informative hints about it as you go along so that you don’t end up with the entire explanation all in one place. This keeps you from skidding to a stop and sounding teacherish. Otherwise it’s better to omit the obscure topic altogether, or as mothers might put it: If you can’t say it interestingly, don’t say it at all.

FLORENCE KING

Friday
Feb252011

Use the Landscape

Always tell us where we are. And don’t just tell us where something is, make it pay off. Use description of landscape to help you establish the emotional tone of the scene. Keep notes of how other authors establish mood and foreshadow events by describing the world around the character. Look at the openings of Fitzgerald stories, and Graham Greene, they’re great at this.

JANET FITCH

Thursday
Feb242011

A Writer Builds A New World with Words

A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words.

ORHAN PAMUK

Wednesday
Feb232011

Writing Is A Kind of Double Living

Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind.

CATHERINE DRINKER BOWEN

Tuesday
Feb222011

Advice to Aspiring Co-Authors

Here's what you need to know before you agree to be a “co-author” for a celebrity or "expert":

1. Your “collaborator,” no matter how famous, will have a lot less expertise than promised, and you will have to do a great deal of research for which you'll receive neither credit nor compensation.

2. Your collaborator will not understand what writing involves, or how long it takes, or that a second draft is not a final draft (never show your collaborator a first draft) or that reading a chapter and making suggestions is not the same as writing it in the first place.

3. You and your collaborator will both believe that the work—and hence the money—has been unfairly divided.

4. In short, an amicable divorce is easier to pull off than a happy collaboration.

NANCY HATHAWAY

Monday
Feb212011

Torture Your Protagonist

The writer is both a sadist and a masochist. We create people we love, and then we torture them. The more we love them, and the more cleverly we torture them along the lines of their greatest vulnerability and fear, the better the story. Sometimes we try to protect them from getting booboos that are too big. Don’t. This is your protagonist, not your kid.

JANET FITCH

Sunday
Feb202011

Chain That Muse to Your Desk

I learned to produce whether I wanted to or not. It would be easy to say oh, I have writer's block, oh, I have to wait for my muse. I don't. Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done.

BARBARA KINGSOLVER

Saturday
Feb192011

Stories Aren't Just Entertainment

I will tell you something about stories. They aren't just entertainment. They are all we have to fight off illness and death. You don't have anything if you don't have stories.

LESLIE MARMON SILKO

Friday
Feb182011

Cross Your Fingers and Watch Your Back

I wish you good writing and good luck. Even if you've already done the good writing, you'll still need the good luck. It's a shark-filled lagoon out there. Cross your fingers and watch your back.

MARGARET ATWOOD

Thursday
Feb172011

Trust Your Own Judgment

Advice to young writers? Always the same advice: learn to trust our own judgment, learn inner independence, learn to trust that time will sort the good from the bad– including your own bad.

DORIS LESSING

Wednesday
Feb162011

A Writer Is Not An Ideal Husband

I think a writer is not an ideal husband. . . . Writers tend to get off into their own heads and not notice the people that they’re living with, or they get irritable with the people that they’re living with when the people insist on being noticed.

ROY BLOUNT, JR.

Tuesday
Feb152011

Life Is Too Short for a Writer to Be Polite

I'm willing to show good taste, if I can, in somebody else's living room, but our reading life is too short for a writer to be in any way polite. Since his words enter into another's brain in silence and intimacy, he should be as honest and explicit as we are with ourselves.

JOHN UPDIKE

Monday
Feb142011

Writing Is Like Going On A Very Long Walk

When you’re writing, it’s rather like going on a very long walk, across valleys and mountains and things, and you get the first view of what you see and you write it down. Then you walk a bit further, maybe you up onto the top of a hill, and you see something else. Then you write that and you go on like that, day after day, getting different views of the same landscape really. The highest mountain on the walk is obviously the end of the book, because it’s got to be the best view of all, when everything comes together and you can look back and see that everything you’ve done all ties up. But it’s a very, very long, slow process.

ROALD DAHL

Sunday
Feb132011

All the Great Story Lines Are Great Practical Jokes

If you make people laugh or cry about little black marks on sheets of white paper, what is that but a practical joke? All the great story lines are great practical jokes that people fall for over and over again.

KURT VONNEGUT

Saturday
Feb122011

Nobody Knows Anything

Nobody sets out to fuck up your movie. It’s not like the director or the stars wake up in the morning and say, “Let’s screw up this scene. How can I really cause Bill Goldman pain?” It’s just that they’re terrified. I wrote a line once that caught on out there in Hollywood: “Nobody knows anything.” And they don’t. If we knew what we were doing, every movie would be wonderful. If actors knew what they were doing, every performance would be just swell. It’s a crapshoot. It just is. There’s no answer. I wish there were.

WILLIAM GOLDMAN

Friday
Feb112011

Writing Is A Way to Experience the Ecstatic

Writing is my passion. It is a way to experience the ecstatic. The root understanding of the word ecstasy—“to stand outside”—comes to me in those moments when I am immersed so deeply in the act of thinking and writing that everything else, even flesh, falls away.

bell hooks

Thursday
Feb102011

It's Your Duty to Lie

There's an enormous difference between being a story writer and being a regular person. As a person, it's your duty to stay on a straight and even keel, not to break down blubbering in the streets, not to pull rude drivers from their cars, not to swing from the branches of trees. But as a writer it's your duty to lie and to view everything in life, however outrageous, as an interesting possibility. You may need to be ruthless or amoral in your writing to be original. Telling a story straight from real life is only being a reporter, not a creator. You have to make your story bigger, better, more magical, more meaningful than life is, no matter how special or wonderful in real life the moment may have been.

RICK BASS

Wednesday
Feb092011

Sneaking Up On It Sometimes Helps

Sneaking up on it sometimes helps: I’ve found I can be very productive for an hour before dinner, because there obviously isn’t enough time to really do anything, so I can tell myself I’m just screwing around.

MICHAEL CRICHTON