Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Writers Say...

Great notes from writers (taken from these top ten lists):

"Don't sit down in the middle of the woods. If you're lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page." -- Margaret Atwood

"Never worry about the commercial possibilities of a project. That stuff is for agents and editors to fret over – or not. Conversation with my American publisher. Me: "I'm writing a book so boring, of such limited commercial appeal, that if you publish it, it will probably cost you your job." Publisher: "That's exactly what makes me want to stay in my job." -- Geoff Dyer

"Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire." -- Geoff Dyer

"Do it every day. Make a habit of putting your observations into words and gradually this will become instinct. This is the most important rule of all and, naturally, I don't follow it." -- Geoff Dyer

"Never ride a bike with the brakes on. If something is proving too difficult, give up and do something else. Try to live without resort to per­severance. But writing is all about ­perseverance. You've got to stick at it. In my 30s I used to go to the gym even though I hated it. The purpose of ­going to the gym was to postpone the day when I would stop going. That's what writing is to me: a way of ­postponing the day when I won't do it any more, the day when I will sink into a depression so profound it will be indistinguishable from perfect bliss." -- Geoff Dyer

"The first 12 years are the worst." -- Anne Enright

"Write whatever way you like. Fiction is made of words on a page; reality is made of something else. It doesn't matter how "real" your story is, or how "made up": what matters is its necessity." -- Anne Enright

"Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand." -- Anne Enright

"Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you ­finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die." -- Anne Enright

"Try to think of others' good luck as encouragement to yourself." -- Richard Ford

"Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money." -- Jonathan Franzen

"It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction." -- Jonathan Franzen

"The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it's definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." -- Neil Gaiman

All the top ten lists are worth a read. Some are just laugh-out-loud hilarious :D. Check 'em out.

1 comment:

Kristi Bernard said...

These are really great tips. I am guilty of some of them. Thanks for the encouragement.

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