Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Use the Landscape

Use the Landscape. Always tell us where we are. And don’t just tell us where something is, make it pay off. Use description of landscape to help you establish the emotional tone of the scene. Keep notes of how other authors establish mood and foreshadow events by describing the world around the character. Look at the openings of Fitzgerald stories, and Graham Greene, they’re great at this.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Good Writing Never Soothes or Comforts

Good writing never soothes or comforts. It is no prescription, neither is it diversionary, although it can and should enchant while it explodes in the reader's face. Whenever the writer writes, it's always three or four or five o'clock in the morning in his head. Those horrid hours are the writer's days and nights when he is writing.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Open Your Mind

Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other people. Nothing that happens to a writer–however happy, however tragic–is ever wasted. Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Writing is More Than Just the Making of Statements

Writing is more than just the making of a series of comprehensible statements: it is the gathering of connotations, the harvesting of them, like blackberries in a good season, ripe and heavy, snatched from among the thorns of logic.


Friday, August 12, 2011

What does the reader need to know next?

Writing is linear and sequential; Sentence B must follow Sentence A, and Sentence C must follow Sentence B, and eventually you get to Sentence Z. The hard part of writing isn’t the writing; it’s the thinking. You can solve most of your writing problems if you stop after every sentence and ask: What does the reader need to know next?”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Find the Right Word

A writer who has never explored words, who has never searched, seeded, sieved, sifted through his knowledge and memory…dictionaries, thesaurus, poems, favorite paragraphs, to find the right word, is like someone owning a gold mine who has never mined it.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Rewrite It!

The best advice on writing I’ve ever received was, “Rewrite it!” A lot of editors said that. They were all right. Writing is really rewriting—making the story better, clearer, truer.