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Recommended Books
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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
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    Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do
    Plume
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    Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews
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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
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    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
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    The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1
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    The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
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    The Writer's Legal Companion: The Complete Handbook For The Working Writer, Third Edition
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    A Writer's Reality
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    A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write
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    Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past
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    Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Paperback)
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    Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
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    Writing for Your Life
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    The Writing Life
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  • The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
    The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
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  • 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
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    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
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    Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You
    by Ray Bradbury

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Friday
Apr272012

When Your Villain Becomes a Bore

Whenever your villain becomes a bore, whatever you’re writing—play, film, whatever—wrap it up, abandon ship. Conversely, first-rate villains very often, by the mere reflection of the infinitely greater attractiveness and scope that villainy has over virtue, will endow the most numbing of dullard heroes and heroines with an appeal they couldn’t possibly attain on their own. From Mephistopheles to Rupert of Hentzau. It’s my guess Will Shakespeare found Iago a breeze to write compared to Othello; and that he sweated more over Brutus than Cassius.

JOSEPH L. MANKIEWICZ 

Thursday
Apr262012

Style Is A Relation Between Form and Content

Style is a relation between form and content. Where the content is less than the form, where the author pretends to emotion which he does not feel, the language will seem flamboyant. The more ignorant a writer feels, the more artificial becomes his style. A writer who thinks himself cleverer than his readers writes simply, one who is afraid they are cleverer than he, will make use of mystification: good style is arrived at when the chosen represents what the author requires of it without mystification.

CYRIL CONNOLLY

Wednesday
Apr252012

Most Writers Write Too Much

Most writers write too much. Some writers write way too much, gauged by the quality of their accumulated oeuvre. I've never thought of myself as a man driven to write. I simply choose to do it, often when I can't be persuaded to do anything else; or when a dank feeling of uselessness comes over me, and I'm at a loss and have some time on my hands, such as when the World Series is over.

RICHARD FORD

Tuesday
Apr242012

Invent Your Confidence

The best advice on writing I ever received was: Invent your confidence. When you're trying something new, insecurity and stage fright come with the territory. Many wonderful writers (and other artists) have been plagued by insecurity throughout their professional lives. How could it be otherwise? By its nature, art involves risk. It's not easy, but sometimes one has to invent one's confidence.

DIANE ACKERMAN

Monday
Apr232012

Sequential Causality

Sequential causality is generally considered to be very important in plotting. It is often thought to be the difference between a simple story, which just presents events as arranged in their time sequence, and a true plot, in which one scene prepares for and leads into and causes the scene that comes after it.

RUST HILLS

Sunday
Apr222012

There's A Sureness to Good Writing

There's a sureness to good writing even when what's being written about doesn't make all that much sense. It's the sureness of the so-called seat of an accomplished horseback rider or a sailor coming about in a strong wind. The words have both muscle and grace, familiarity and surprise. If forced to choose one writer of the 20th century who has these qualities most abundantly, I would name Vladimir Nabokov, who makes me want to take back everything I said about adjectives, except that each of his is chosen as carefully as an engagement ring: "On her brown shoulder, a raised purple-pink swelling (the work of some gnat) which I eased of its beautiful transparent poison between my long thumbnails and then sucked till I was gorged on her spicy blood."

ANNE BERNAYS

Saturday
Apr212012

Don't Tell Anybody What Your Book Is About

Don’t tell anybody what your book is about and don’t show it until it’s finished. It’s not that anybody will steal your idea but that all the energy that goes into the writing of your story will be dissipated.

DAVID WALLECHINSKY

Friday
Apr202012

What Could Be Stranger Than Writing?

People like ourselves may see nothing wondrous in writing, but our anthropologists know how strange and magical it appears to a purely oral people—a conversation with no one and yet with everyone. What could be stranger than the silence one encounters when addressing a question to a text? What could be more metaphysically puzzling than addressing an unseen audience, as every writer of books must do? And correcting oneself because one knows that an unknown reader will disapprove or misunderstand?

NEIL POSTMAN

Thursday
Apr192012

Screenplays Are Structure

Screenplays are structure, and that’s all they are. The quality of writing—which is crucial in almost every other form of literature—is not what makes a screenplay work. Structure isn’t anything else but telling the story, starting as late as possible, starting each scene as late as possible. You don’t want to begin with “Once upon a time,” because the audience gets antsy.

WILLIAM GOLDMAN

Wednesday
Apr182012

There's No Such Thing As Nonfiction

My feeling is that there's no such thing as nonfiction. Everything is fiction, because in the moment someone tries to relate an experience of what happened to them, it's gone. The reality that was felt at the moment is almost impossible to describe. It's one reason why there are writers, to come close to how it felt when it happened.

NORMAN MAILER

Tuesday
Apr172012

Occasionally, Something Sticks

Occasionally, something sticks. And then I follow that. The only image I can think of is a man walking around with an iron rod in his hand during a lightning storm.

ARTHUR MILLER

Monday
Apr162012

The Ideas Aren't the Hard Bit

The ideas aren't the hard bit. They're a small component of the whole. Creating believable people who do more or less what you tell them to is much harder. And hardest by far is the process of simply sitting down and putting one word after another to construct whatever it is you're trying to build: making it interesting, making it new.

NEIL GAIMAN

Sunday
Apr152012

You Have to Work Every Day

It doesn't matter what time of day you work, but you have to work every day because creation, like life, is always slipping away from you. You must write every day, but there's no time limit on how long you have to write.

One day you might read over what you've done and think about it. You pick up the pencil or turn on the computer, but no new words come. That's fine. Sometimes you can't go further. Correct a misspelling, reread a perplexing paragraph, and then let it go. You have re-entered the dream of the work, and that's enough to keep the story alive for another 24 hours.

The next day you might write for hours; there's no way to tell. The goal is not a number of words or hours spent writing. All you need to do is to keep your heart and mind open to the work.

WALTER MOSLEY

Saturday
Apr142012

Don't Try to Guess What Editors Want

Don’t try to guess what sort of thing editors want to publish or what you think the country is in a mood to read. Editors and readers don’t know what they want to read until they read it. Besides, they’re always looking for something new.

WILLIAM ZINSSER

Friday
Apr132012

Think of What You Skip Reading a Novel

Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he's writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character's head, and the reader either knows what the guy's thinking or doesn't care. I'll bet you don't skip dialogue.

ELMORE LEONARD

Thursday
Apr122012

Storytelling Is First A Craft

I get annoyed when a self-indulgent writer just shows off what he knows but doesn't really tell a story. To me storytelling is first a craft. Then if you're lucky, it becomes an art form. But first, it's got to be a craft. You've got to have a beginning, middle and end.

ROBERT LUDLUM

Wednesday
Apr112012

Something Better Happen

Read the Great Books. Read "successful" authors and find out what you don't like. Personally, I like the old Barnes & Noble first three pages test. Something better happen or I toss the dude. If you prefer brooding, introspective writing, better see another guy.

DAN JENKINS

Tuesday
Apr102012

Pebble by Pebble by Pebble 

It is just pebble by pebble by pebble by pebble. I write one sentence until I am happy with it until I go on to the next one and write that one until I am happy with it. And I look at my paragraph and if I am not happy with that I'll write the paragraph until I'm happy with it and then I go on this way. And, of course, even writing this very slow way, one does have to go back. One does start off on the wrong foot sometimes and a whole scene has to be chopped and you have to start over again. Generally, you know that pretty quickly though. You realize you have painted yourself into a corner and you think, "Okay I am just going to trace my footsteps back to the last solid bit of ground that I know. Look around start again and take a different tack." It's the way that William Styron writes and he said, when he was about my age, that he realized that he had maybe four or five books in him—the way that he worked—and he said he was fine with that. I'm fine with that too. It's okay by me.

DONNA TARTT

Monday
Apr092012

The Best Books Come from Deep Inside

The best books come from someplace deep inside. You don't write because you want to, but because you have to. Become emotionally involved. If you don't care about your characters, your readers won't either.

JUDY BLUME

Sunday
Apr082012

Stay Drunk On Writing

If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy or both–you must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

RAY BRADBURY