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Recommended Books
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    The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative
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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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    Stylish Academic Writing
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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
  • 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

Thursday
Nov172011

Find What Gave You Emotion

Find what gave you emotion; what the action was that gave you excitement. Then write it down making it clear so that the reader can see it too. Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Wednesday
Nov162011

7 Rules for Dialogue

1. Dialogue should be brief.

2. It should add to the reader’s present knowledge.

3. It should eliminate the routine exchanges of ordinary conversation.

4. It should convey a sense of spontaneity but eliminate the repetitiveness of real talk.

5. It should keep the story moving forward.

6. It should be revelatory of the speaker’s character, both directly and indirectly.

7. It should show the relationships among people.

ELIZABETH BOWEN 

Tuesday
Nov152011

You Do Not Need to Leave Your Room

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

FRANZ KAFKA

Monday
Nov142011

You Have To Be Absolutely Lucid

Bad readers have asked me if I was drugged when I wrote some of my works. But that illustrates that they don’t know anything about literature or drugs. To be a good writer you have to be absolutely lucid at every moment of writing, and in good health.

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ

Sunday
Nov132011

Talent Is Irrelevant

I see the notion of talent as quite irrelevant. I see instead perseverance, application, industry, assiduity, will, will, will, desire, desire, desire.

GORDON LISH

Saturday
Nov122011

A Writer Needs Three Things

A writer needs three things, experience, observation and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.

WILLIAM FAULKNER

Friday
Nov112011

Don't Be Bullied By Punctuation

When speaking aloud, you punctuate constantly—with body language. Your listener hears commas, dashes, question marks, exclamation points, quotation marks as you shout, whisper, pause, wave your arms, roll your eyes, wrinkle your brow. In writing, punctuation plays the role of body language. It helps readers hear you the way you want to be heard. Careful use of those little marks emphasizes the sound of your distinctive voice and keeps the reader from becoming bored or confused. . . . [Punctuation] exists to serve you. Don’t be bullied into serving it.

RUSSELL BAKER

Thursday
Nov102011

Stories Must Have Life At The End

Life goes on, and for the sake of verisimilitude and realism, you cannot possibly give the impression of an ending: you must let something hang. A cheap interpretation of that would be to say that you must always leave a chance for a sequel. People die, love dies, but life does not die, and so long as people live, stories must have life at the end.

JOHN O’HARA

Wednesday
Nov092011

Murder Your Darlings

If you require a practical rule of me, I will present you with this: Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—wholeheartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.

ARTHUR QUILLER-COUCH

Tuesday
Nov082011

Go Where Your Characters Lead You

Trollope said, “On the last day of each month recorded, every person in a work of fiction should be a month older than on the first.” We go with our characters wherever they lead us, and as time makes its mark on us, so it must on them.

HALLIE BURNETT

Monday
Nov072011

The First Draft

The only true creative aspect of writing is the first draft. That’s when it’s coming straight from your head and your heart, a direct tapping of the unconscious. The rest is donkey work. It is, however, donkey work that must be done.

EVAN HUNTER

Sunday
Nov062011

The Point Is To Be Heard

Each of us is like a desert, and a literary work is like a cry from the desert, or like a pigeon let loose with a message in its claws, or like a bottle thrown into the sea. The point is: to be heard—even if by one single person.

FRANÇOIS MAURIAC

Saturday
Nov052011

Three Characteristics A Work of Fiction Must Possess

[The] three characteristics a work of fiction must possess in order to be successful:

1. It must have a precise and suspenseful plot. 

2. The author must feel a passionate urge to write it.

3. He must have the conviction, or at least the illusion, that he is the only one who can handle this particular theme.

ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER

Friday
Nov042011

Ask Yourself Four Questions

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?

GEORGE ORWELL

Thursday
Nov032011

Things Keep Knotting Up

I like to think of what happens to characters in good novels and stories as knots—things keep knotting up. And by the end of the story—readers see an “unknotting” of sorts. Not what they expect, not the easy answers you get on TV, not wash and wear philosophies, but a reproduction of believable emotional experiences.

TERRY McMILLAN

Wednesday
Nov022011

The Unconscious Takes Over

The unconscious mind takes the germ of an idea and develops it, but usually this happens only when a writer has tried hard, and logically, to develop it himself. After he has given it up for a few hours, getting nowhere, a great advancement of the plot will pop into his head. I have been waked up in the night sometimes by a plot advancement or a solution of a problem that I had not even been dreaming about.

PATRICIA HIGHSMITH

Tuesday
Nov012011

Show the Reader What the Character Thinks About

If you want your reader to understand something about a given character, his habits of intellection and control of his emotions, show the reader what the character thinks about, and then the reader will think about it too.

GEORGE V. HIGGINS

Monday
Oct312011

Choice of Subject Is of Cardinal Importance

Choice of subject is of cardinal importance. One does by far one’s best work when besotted by and absorbed in the matter at hand.

JESSICA MITFORD

Sunday
Oct302011

Write A Good Sentence

Saturday
Oct292011

You Do Not Need to Leave Your Room

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

FRANZ KAFKA