Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Writing advice

So far, there are twenty-six workshops in this series. From writing prompts to playing around with genre and over to examining plot devices and character motivations, we've covered a lot of territory. Don't worry, there's more to come! Today, however, we're going to spend some time with the masters of the craft.

The quotes below all come from authors who have achieved a certain amount of fame or accolade from the world at large. Whether playwrights or screenwriters or novelists, we look to them for advice, to find the truth behind their creative processes because, in their words, we find our lessons.

So for today, I offer you advice from those who came before...

"Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material."  - John Steinbeck 
(more of his tips here)

"Don't tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass." - Anton Checkov

"A story should have a beginning, a middle and and end...but not necessarily in that order." - Jean Luc Godard

"The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies." - Ray Bradbury

"Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip when reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. - Elmore Leonard
(his 10 rules are here and worth memorizing!)

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou

"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." -Toni Morrison

And my favorite:

"You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness or even despair; the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it anyway but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page." - Stephen King

Now go write!

And if you're enjoying the writing workshops, please drop a coin in the box!


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