Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers. —ray bradbury, wd let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper. —ray bradbury, wd remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. —ray bradbury, wd its none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. —Ernest Hemingway writers are always selling somebody out. —joan Didion Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands the afterwards. Heinlein keep a small can of wd-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you dont write daily, you will get rusty.
And I think thats the job of art. —Andre dubus iii, wd (this" is from an interview with Dubus in our July/August 2012 issue ) Geniuses can be scintillating and geniuses can be somber, but its that inescapable sorrowful depth that shines through— originality. —jack kerouac, wd people say, what advice do you have for people who want to be writers? I say, they dont really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and theyre gonna. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know. Stine, wd (this" is from an interview with Stine that ran in our november/December 2011 issue ) I dont need an alarm clock. My ideas wake. —ray bradbury, wd just write every day of your life. Then see what happens.
The 10, best, english, writers, in Literary history
—jim Tully, wd all stories have to at least try to explain some small portion of the meaning of life. . you can do that in 20 minutes, and 15 inches. . I still remember a piece that the great Barry bearak did in The miami herald some 30 years ago. . It was a nothing story, really: Some high school kid was leading a campaign to ban books he found offensive from the school library. . Bearak didnt even have an interview with the kid, who was ducking him. . The story was short, mostly about the issue.
But bearak had a fact oven that he withheld until the kicker. . The fact put the whole story, subtly, in complete perspective. . The kicker noted the true, wonderful fact that the kid was not in school that day because his ulcer was acting. . Meaning of life, 15 inches. —gene weingarten, wd i would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. —harper lee, wd i think the deeper you go into questions, the deeper or more interesting the questions get.
If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood. —leslie gordon Barnard, wd if you tell the reader that Bull beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snakes blood in his veins, the readers reaction may be, oh, yeah! But if you show the reader Bull beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes! —Fred East, wd plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally theres an explosion—thats Plot. —leigh Brackett, wd the first sentence cant be written until the final sentence is written.
—joyce carol Oates, wd when your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done. —Stephen King, wd genius gives birth, talent delivers. What Rembrandt or Van Gogh saw in the night can never be seen again. Born writers of the future are amazed already at what theyre seeing now, what well all see in time for the first time, and then see imitated many times by made writers. Jack kerouac, wd long patience and application saturated with your hearts blood—you will either write or you will not—and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.
True birth Stories
I do not over-intellectualise the production process. I try to essay keep it simple: Tell the damned story. —tom Clancy, wd, the writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that the finished work might contain this life inside it and offer it to the reader. The essence will not be, of course, the same thing as the raw material; it is not even of the same family of things. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again. —eudora welty, wd, one thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that Im going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. Ill have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off. Dont expect the puppets of your mind to become the people of your story.
I know of no shortcuts. Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces. —Allegra goodman, im out there to clean the plate. Once theyve read what ive written on a subject, i want them to think, thats it! I think the highest aspiration people in our statement trade can have is that once theyve written a story, nobody will ever try it again. —richard Ben Cramer, there are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever. —doris Lessing, style means the right word. The rest matters little.
of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and its up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting. —john Updike, wd, the greatest part of a writers time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book. —samuel Johnson, if it sounds like writing, i rewrite. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have. I cant allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. When not writing or rewriting, read.
—Ernest Hemingway, making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; its work. belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything. —Stephen King, wd (this" is from an interview with King in our may/June 2009 issue if a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood. —peter Handke, to writing defend what youve written is a sign that you are alive. —william Zinsser, wd, if I had not existed, someone else would have written me, hemingway, dostoyevsky, all. For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word. —catherine Drinker Bowen, each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players.
Today s, best, women, writers, labor day
A good writing " can give me goosebumps. For those days when the well is feeling dry and a tad echo-y, i keep a running list of my favorite"s—things ive read, things ive edited, things ive found in the wd archives, world things people have said to me in interviews. Such tiny, perfect revelations. A couple of years ago, i posted a portion of this list on my old wd blog (around the same time we ran a great" feature on 90 tips from bestselling authors in the magazine). Recently, someone asked if I was still collecting"s. Heres the latest iteration of the list. (Id love to expand it, too—please share some of your favourites in the comments section of this blog post.). Happy Friday, and happy writing. We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.