My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.
The reader has certain rights. He bought your story. Think of this as an implicit contract. He's entitled to be entertained, instructed, amused; maybe all three. If he quits in the middle, or puts the book down feeling his time has been wasted, you're in violation.
If you do not have an alert and curious interest in character and dramatic situation, if you have no visual imagination and are unable to distinguish between honest emotional reactions and sentimental approaches to life, you will never write a competent short story.
All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery.
I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I'm one of the world's great rewriters.
A good style should show no signs of effort. What is written should seem a happy accident.
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.
If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don't listen to writers talking about writing or themselves.
The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book.
Literature is all, or mostly, about sex.
The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either.
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.
Every novel should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
There is probably no hell for authors in the next world - they suffer so much from critics and publishers in this.
Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you – as if you haven't been told a million times already – that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching.
As to the adjective: when in doubt, strike it out.
I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.
Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.
I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.
If you have other things in your life-family, friends, good productive day work-these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.
Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are economical in its use.
Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
Writing a novel is like heading out over the open sea in a small boat. It helps, if you have a plan and a course laid out.
Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
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