4/23/11

Writing Tips from Great Writers

I was looking around for some inspiration for my own writing when I came across these quotes... Hope you enjoy them.  More from me after...

  • "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 
  • "Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man's life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible."  ~Leo Tolstoy 
  • "No man should ever publish a book until he has first read it to a woman."  ~Van Wyck Brooks 
  • "Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.  One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand."  ~George Orwell, "Why I Write," 1947 
  • "One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you're maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones."~Stephen King 
  • "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." ~Benjamin Franklin 
  • "A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others." ~William Faulkner
  •  "The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty." ~John Steinbeck 
  • "We are nauseated by the sight of trivial personalities decomposing in the eternity of print." ~Virginia Woolf 
  • "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."  ~Virginia Woolf  (Yes, I know I just did one by her, but I am trying to convince my husband to let me have my own space to write.) 

 Last one, (sort of.)

  • "Writers are the main landmarks of the past." ~Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

There are a lot of great quotes for writers of all sorts.  From the very best writers of Classics to the most recent genre fiction writers, all people have opinions and I think that the best encouragement is the type that lets me know--no artist ever had it easy, and that's especially true when it comes to writers.  I recently read On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King and (I was told) while his earlier book on writing was better, I appreciated this one the most.  Stephen King, think about this man for a moment.  He's a man who's got 37 books under his belt, including 11/22/63 due out this year and he's got an entirety of works in anthologies, his own short fiction collections and screenplay adaptations.  His body of work is  astounding.  

To be honest, his writing is a little scary for me, but I found my own favorite author-now deceased- didn't have the same depth or helpfulness when I address his quotes about writing.  
"If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree." ~Michael Crichton

He also had the worst habit of writing.  He never did it as his sole profession, not entirely, and it took him years and years to publish a single book.  This, this was not what I needed today.  

So, I provided beautiful quotes that do my situation justice I think.  And King, while gruesome, does technically write in the genre I hope to am writing within.  He's charismatic and he's a no-BS, down-to-earth writer who's got some of the most essential suggestions and advice because he's a successful writer living off of his earnings.  I think his answer to the question, "Why do you write what you do," is uplifting enough:

"Why do you assume I have the choice?"

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