5 GREAT WRITERS TALK WRITING
1.) Elmore Leonard :
A. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.
B. Avoid prologues: they can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword.
C. My most important rule is one that sums up my feelings: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
2.) Neil Gamain :
A. Finish what you're writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
B. Put it aside. Read it pretending you've never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
C. Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
3.) Roddy Doyle :
A. Do not place a photograph of your favorite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.
B. Regard every new page as a small triumph.
C. Do spend a few minutes a day working on the cover biog – "He divides his time between Kabul and Tierra del Fuego." But then get back to work.
4.) Margaret Atwood :
A.) Hold the reader's attention.
(This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.)
But you don't know who the reader is, so it's like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What fascinates X will bore the pants off Z.
B.) There's no free lunch. Writing is work. It's also gambling. You don't get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you're on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don't whine.
C.) 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.
5.) Helen Dunmore:
A. Finish the day's writing when you still want to continue.
B. Listen to what you have written. A dud rhythm in a passage of dialogue may show that you don't yet understand the characters well enough to write in their voices.
C. Reread, rewrite, reread, rewrite some more. If it still doesn't work, throw it away. It's a nice feeling, and you don't want to be cluttered with the corpses of poems and stories which have everything in them except the life they need.
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