Monday, September 27, 2010

Tips for writers from writers

A while back, the English newspaper The Guardian published a selection of writing tips from well-known writers. Let me say up front that I think this collection of tips is sort of like one of those "Best Artists Ever" list shows in VH1. Some of it, you'll agree with; some, you'll wonder about; some will downright infuriate you. (When I watch one of those VH1 "Best of" shows, I wander around fuming for days afterwards. "Why did they leave off Charlie Parker AND Merle Haggard? Why did they include Neil Young at #26, but didn't include Crosby, Stills, OR Nash anywhere in the top 100!?" But I digress.)
But the real value of such a list is to get you thinking. Yes, some items on this list may infuriate you. (I include Richard Ford's advice not to have children in this category for me. Charles Dickens had at least 57 children--perhaps a slight exaggeration, but not much--and still managed to dribble out a few words worth reading.)
Other items are invaluable, however. I wish I had been able to understand Jonathan Franzen's point that a reader is a friend, not an adversary or spectator, much sooner. Ian Rankin delivers some of the briefest yet most trenchant advice: For example, read lots, write lots, learn what criticism to accept.
In any case, you don't need to read what I think about it. Here's the link so you can read for yourself (and don't forget to click the link at the bottom of the first page to read part 2):

What do you guys think? What is your best writing tip, either one from the article, or one you've read yourself?


Maeve said...

Good link with rules I've heard many times. *sigh* I sometimes feel like a toddler just learning to walk and constantly being told, "NO. Do not do that." Great post!

P.L. Parker said...

About believing in yourself - it's your story.

Mary Ricksen said...

Write what you love.

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