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Recommended Books
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    The Oxford Dictionary of Allusions (Oxford Paperback Reference)
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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)
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  • 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
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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
    by Robert Mckee
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    Stylish Academic Writing
    by Helen Sword
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    Successful Television Writing
    by Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin
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    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
  • What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
    What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
    by Anne Bernays, Pamela Painter
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    Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
    by Scott Mccloud
  • 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 Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
    The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
    by Christopher Vogler
  • The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1
    The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1
    by Janet Sternberg
  • 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: Writers On How They Think And Work
    The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
    by Marie Arana
  • The Writing Life
    The Writing Life
    by Annie Dillard
  • 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
  • Endangered Species: Writers Talk About Their Craft, Their Visions, Their Lives
    Endangered Species: Writers Talk About Their Craft, Their Visions, Their Lives
    by Lawrence Grobel

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Saturday
Oct262013

Unplug the Phone and Close the Door

I unplug the phone and close the door and just stick with it. I don’t ever go out for lunch and I don’t take vacations. I like to be awake when no one else is: either just before dawn in the morning or late, late at night. Silence helps.

MONA SIMPSON

Friday
Oct252013

You Don't Always Have to Murder Your Darlings

You don't always have to go so far as to murder your darlings—those turns of phrase or images of which you felt extra proud when they appeared on the page – but go back and look at them with a very beady eye. Almost always it turns out that they'd be better dead. (Not every little twinge of satisfaction is suspect—it's the ones which amount to a sort of smug glee you must watch out for.)

DIANA ATHILL

Thursday
Oct242013

You Don't Get a Pension Plan

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

Wednesday
Oct232013

Story is a Character for Whom We Care

The core of every good story is a character for whom we care—and not just care a little, but care deeply. This alone is no easy task: Such a character must be likable, but not annoying. He must have virtues but remain imperfect. She must possess the potential for sacrifice, for selflessness, for selfishness, for evil. He may be funny, but not only that. She may be serious, but not only that. He comprises many dimensions but not so many that he seems unreal or unpindownable.

CHUCK WENDIG

Tuesday
Oct222013

The Artist Must Raise Everything to a Higher Level

The artist must raise everything to a higher level: he is like a pump; inside him is a great pipe reaching down into the bowels of things, the deepest layers. He sucks up what was pooled beneath the surface and brings it forth into the sunlight in giant sprays.

GUSTAVE FLAUBERT

Monday
Oct212013

T.S. Eliot's Advice to a Young Writer

Then it was four o'clock, or nearly; it was time for Eliot to conclude our interview, and take tea with his colleagues. He stood up, slowly enough to give me time to stand upright before he did, granting me the face of knowing when to leave. When this tall, pale, dark-suited figure struggled successfully to its feet, and I had leapt to mine, we lingered a moment in the doorway, while I sputtered ponderous thanks, and he nodded smiling to acknowledge them. Then Eliot appeared to search for the right phrase with which to send me off. He looked at me in the eyes, and set off into a slow, meandering sentence. "Let me see, said T. S. Eliot, "forty years ago I went from Harvard to Oxford. Now you are going from Harvard to Oxford. What advice can I give you?" He paused delicately, shrewdly, while I waited with greed for the words which I would repeat for the rest of my life, the advice from elder to younger, setting me on the road of emulation. When he had ticked off the comedian's exact milli­seconds of pause, he said, "Have you any long underwear?"

DONALD HALL

Sunday
Oct202013

Dialogue in Fiction

Dialogue in fiction should be reserved for the culminating moments and regarded as the spray into which the great wave of narrative breaks in curving toward the watcher on the shore.

EDITH WHARTON

Saturday
Oct192013

Find Your Optimum Hours for Writing

My most important discovery has been that I have optimum hours for writing. These are between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. For a lifetime I’ve told myself that I was a nighttime writer—it seemed romantic. But actually I’m tired at night, and that’s when I prefer to read and research. Whatever your optimum hours are, don’t cheat yourself of them. This is a daily battle. If you spend them answering the phone, attending to correspondence, etc., you’ll find yourself empty-handed and out of sorts during your low tide.

AMY WALLACE

Friday
Oct182013

Never Bring a Tame in Union with a Savage Thing

Good writing obeys the dictum of Horace: “Remember always never to bring a tame in union with a savage thing.”—meaning, among other things, don’t distract a mystery reader with a romantic subplot.

FLORENCE KING

Thursday
Oct172013

By the End, You Should Be Inside Your Character

By the end, you should be inside your character, actually operating from within somebody else, and knowing him pretty well, as that person knows himself or herself. You’re sort of a predator, an invader of people.

WILLIAM TREVOR

Wednesday
Oct162013

We Have to Accept Ourselves in Order to Write

We have to accept ourselves in order to write. Now none of us does that fully: few of us do it even halfway. Don’t wait for one hundred percent acceptance of yourself before you write, or even eight percent acceptance. Just write. The process of writing is an activity that teaches us about acceptance.

NATALIE GOLDBERG

Tuesday
Oct152013

Never Look at a Reference Book While Doing a First Draft

Never look at a reference book while doing a first draft. You want to write a story? Fine. Put away your dictionary, your encyclopedias, your World Almanac, and your thesaurus. Better yet, throw your thesaurus into the wastebasket. The only things creepier than a thesaurus are those little paperbacks college students too lazy to read the assigned novels buy around exam time. Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule. You think you might have misspelled a word? O.K., so here is your choice: either look it up in the dictionary, thereby making sure you have it right - and breaking your train of thought and the writer's trance in the bargain - or just spell it phonetically and correct it later. Why not? Did you think it was going to go somewhere? And if you need to know the largest city in Brazil and you find you don't have it in your head, why not write in Miami, or Cleveland? You can check it ... but later. When you sit down to write, write. Don't do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.

STEPHEN KING

Monday
Oct142013

Advice to Aspiring Poets

Advice to aspiring poets: Poetry is not letter-writing cut up into lines. Become familiar with the poets that are the infrastructure of literature; read, read, read.

CYNTHIA OZICK

Sunday
Oct132013

The Delete Key Is a Boon

The delete key is a boon to any writer who hates a cluttered page, although it makes the word processor the least eternal of all writing instruments. Cross-outs are usually consigned to oblivion. (I prefer to move the rejected phrases to the bottom of the screen, where they are continuously pushed ahead of the text-in-progress like an ever-burgeoning mound of snow before a plow.)

ANNE FADIMAN

Saturday
Oct122013

Certain Subjects Just Need Time

I don’t think that writer’s block exists really. I think that when you’re trying to do something prematurely, it just won’t come. Certain subjects just need time. . . . You’ve got to wait before you write about them.

JOYCE CAROL OATES

Friday
Oct112013

The Declarative is at the Bottom of Most Good Writing

A young writer is easily tempted by the allusive and ethereal and ironic and reflective, but the declarative is at the bottom of most good writing.

GARRISON KEILLOR

Thursday
Oct102013

You Begin With a Subject

You begin with a subject, gather material, and work your way to structure from there. You pile up volumes of notes and then figure out what you are going to do with them, not the other way around.

JOHN McPHEE

Wednesday
Oct092013

Becoming a Writer is Not a “Career Decision”

Becoming a writer is not a “career decision” like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don't choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accept the fact that you're not fit for anything else, you have to be prepared to walk a long, hard road for the rest of your days.

PAUL AUSTER

Tuesday
Oct082013

Art Is the Big Yes

Much of our lives involves the word “no.” In school we are mostly told, “Don't do it this way. Do it that way.” But art is the big yes. In art, you get a chance to make something where there was nothing.

MARVIN BELL

Monday
Oct072013

Respect Your Reader

Respect your reader. The niftiest turn of phrase, the most elegant flight of rhetorical fancy, isn’t worth beans next to a clear thought clearly expressed.

JEFF GREENFIELD