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Recommended Books
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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)
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    Simple & Direct
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    Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences
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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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    Successful Television Writing
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    The Summing Up
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    13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
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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
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    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
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    A Writer's Reality
    by Mario Vargas Llosa
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    A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write
    by Kenneth Atchity
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    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
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    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
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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

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Friday
Jun012012

Editors Are Fatal

If you look at any list of great modern writers such as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, you’ll notice two things about them: 1. They all had editors. 2. They are all dead. Thus we can draw the scientific conclusion that editors are fatal.

DAVE BARRY

Thursday
May312012

Learn What to Leave Out

You come by your style by learning what to leave out. At first you tend to overwrite—embellishment instead of insight. You either  continue to write puerile bilge, or you change. In the process of simplifying oneself, one often discovers the thing called voice.

BILLY COLLINS

Wednesday
May302012

Do Not Feel Guilty About Idleness

If you write, good ideas must come welling up into you so that you have something to write. If good ideas do not come at once, or for a long time, do not be troubled at all. Wait for them. Put down little ideas no matter how insignificant they are. But do not feel, any more, guilty about idleness and solitude.

BRENDA UELAND

Tuesday
May292012

Write About What You Know Personally

Write about what you know personally, limited though it may be. Get your facts right. Try to write a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.

FREDERICK FORSYTH

Monday
May282012

The Word is Never Lacking When One Possesses the Idea

When I discover a bad assonance or a repetition in one of my phrases, I am sure that I am floundering in error; by dint of searching, I find the exact expression which was the only one and is, at the same time, the harmonious one. The word is never lacking when one possesses the idea.

GUSTAVE FLAUBERT

Sunday
May272012

Our Heroes Are Simple

Behind the complicated details of the world stand the simplicities: God is good, the grown-up man or woman knows the answer to every question, there is such a thing as truth, and justice is as measured and faultless as a clock. Our heroes are simple: they are brave, they tell the truth, they are good swordsmen and they are never in the long run really defeated. That is why no later books satisfy us like those which were read to us in childhood—for those promised a world of great simplicity of which we knew the rules, but the later books are complicated and contradictory with experience; they are formed out of our own disappointing memories.

GRAHAM GREENE

Saturday
May262012

What Lasts in the Reader's Mind

What lasts in the reader’s mind is not the phrase but the effect the phrase created: laughter, tears, pain, joy. If the phrase is not affecting the reader, what’s it doing there? Make it do its job or cut it without mercy or remorse.

ISAAC ASIMOV

Friday
May252012

Fiction Depends on Place

Every story would be another story, and unrecognizable if it took up its characters and plot and happened somewhere else. Fiction depends for its life on place. Place is the crossroads of circumstance, the proving ground of, What happened? Who’s here? Who’s coming?

EUDORA WELTY

Thursday
May242012

Dialogue Written in Dialect is Hard to Read

Dialogue that is written in dialect is very tiring to read. If you can do it brilliantly, fine. If other writers read your work and rave about your use of dialect, go for it. But be positive that you do it well, because otherwise it is a lot of work to read short stories or novels that are written in dialect. It makes our necks feel funny.

ANNE LAMOTT

Wednesday
May232012

Don't Buy a House

The curse of all successful writers is the dream of all Americans: owning a house. Houses have ruined a lot of literary artists, more so than drugs or drink. Jack London built himself a palace and then committed suicide. Mark Twain almost went bust maintaining his Connecticut digs. …If I had one piece of advice to give to aspirant writers it would be: Don’t—don’t, don’t, don’t—under any circumstances buy a house you could not afford if you were a plumber’s assistant. Or, as a veteran Hollywood agent told me not long ago: Put your money in the bank; if you buy anything, pay cash, and if you can’t pay cash, don’t buy it.

PHILIP CAPUTO

Tuesday
May222012

The Democracy of Storytelling

I believe in the democracy of storytelling. I love the fact that our stories can cross all sorts of borders and boundaries. I feel humbled by the notion that I'm even a small part of the literary experience. I grew up in a house, in a city, in a country shaped by books. I don't know of a greater privilege than being allowed to tell a story, or to listen to a story. They're the only thing we have that can trump life itself.

COLUM McCANN

Monday
May212012

Lock Yourself in a Room

My block was due to two overlapping factors: laziness and lack of discipline. If you really want to write, then shut yourself in a room, close the door, and WRITE. If you don't want to write, do something else. It's as simple as that.

MARY GARDEN

Sunday
May202012

We're Looking for Hope

In conversations over the years with other writers and artists, about what we're actually supposed to be doing, I've been struck by how often, deep down, the talk becomes a quest for the same mysterious thing. Underneath the particular image in question, the particular short story or musical composition, we're looking for a source of hope. When a conversation about each other's work doesn't pivot on professional jargon or drift toward the logistics of career management, when it's instead deferential and accommodating, we're sometimes able to locate a kind of Rosetta stone, a key to living well with the vexing and intractable nature of human life. If any wisdom emerges in these conversations, it offers sudden clarification. It's the Grail shimmer. You feel it, and you can't wait to get to work.

BARRY LOPEZ

Saturday
May192012

No One is Ever Going to See Your First Draft

For me, it’s always been a process of trying to convince myself that what I’m doing in a first draft isn’t important. One way you get through the wall is by convincing yourself that it doesn’t matter. No one is ever going to see your first draft. Nobody cares about your first draft. And that’s the thing that you may be agonizing over, but honestly, whatever you’re doing can be fixed.

NEIL GAIMAN

Friday
May182012

Books Break the Shackles of Time

What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

CARL SAGAN

Thursday
May172012

Rewrite Similar Sentences

If you have too many similar sentences, the solution is to rewrite them, varying length and structure, and make them more interesting. (If this simply can’t be done, the action you’re describing is probably itself not very interesting.)

JONATHAN FRANZEN

Wednesday
May162012

In a Novel, No One Owns the Truth

The contract between the author and the reader is a game. And the game . . . is one of the greatest inventions of Western civilization: the game of telling stories, inventing characters, and creating the imaginary paradise of the individual, from whence no one can be expelled because, in a novel, no one owns the truth and everyone has the right to be heard and understood.

CARLOS FUENTES

Tuesday
May152012

The Important Thing in Writing is the Capacity to Astonish

The important thing in writing is the capacity to astonish. Not shock—shock is a worn-out word—but astonish. The world has no grounds whatever for complacency. The Titanic couldn’t sink, but it did. Where you find smugness, you find something worth blasting. I want to blast it.

TERRY SOUTHERN

Monday
May142012

To Write Is To Sit In Judgment On Oneself

To write is to practice, with particular intensity and attentiveness, the art of reading. You write in order to read what you've written and see if it's O.K. and, since of course it never is, to rewrite it once, twice, as many times as it takes to get it to be something you can bear to reread. You are your own first, maybe severest, reader. "To write is to sit in judgment on oneself," Ibsen inscribed on the flyleaf of one of his books. Hard to imagine writing without rereading.

SUSAN SONTAG

Sunday
May132012

Writing Is An Act of Revolutionary Guerrilla Warfare

I don't know how you perceive my mission as a writer, but for me it is not a responsibility to reaffirm your concretized myths and provincial prejudices. It is not my job to lull you with a false sense of the rightness of the universe. This wonderful and terrible occupation of recreating the world in a different way, each time fresh and strange, is an act of revolutionary guerrilla warfare. I stir the soup. I inconvenience you. I make your nose run and your eyeballs water.

HARLAN ELLISON