Friday, March 18, 2016

15 Indispensable Writing Tips From Famous Authors

  1. Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. (Anton Chekhov)
  2. Never use a foreign phase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. (George Orwell)
  3. Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. (E.L. Doctorow)
  4. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then, when it gets finished, you are always surprised. (John Steinbeck)
  5. I’m always pretending that I’m sitting across from somebody. I’m telling them a story, and I don’t want them to get up until it’s finished. (James Patterson)
  6. If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. (Stephen King)
  7. A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it. (Edgar Allen Poe)
  8. One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place…. Something more will arise for later, something better. (Annie Dillard)
  9. The hardest part is believing in yourself at the notebook stage. It is like believing in dreams in the morning. (Erica Jong)
  10. Give your readers as much information as possible, as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves should cockroaches eat the last few pages. (Kurt Vonnegut)
  11. I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite. (G. K. Chesterton)
  12. What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks “the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.” And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, “Okay. Okay. I’ll come.” (Maya Angelou)
  13. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. (Neil Gaiman)
  14. The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power. (Toni Morrison)
  15. Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. (Mark Twain)