Writers on Writing

Some of the most important writers of our time have gone on camera to talk about their craft and give advice on how to think about writing.  Here are some of the best…

“1. Keep your hand moving. When you sit down to write, whether it’s for ten minutes or an hour, once you begin, don’t stop. If an atom bomb drops at your feet eight minutes after you have begun and you were going to write for ten minutes, don’t budge. You’ll go out writing.…

2.  Lose control. Say what you want to say. Don’t worry if it’s correct, polite, appropriate. Just let it rip.…

3.  Be specific. Not car, but Cadillac. Not fruit, but apple. Not bird, but wren. Not a codependent, neurotic man, but Harry, who runs to open the refrigerator for his wife, thinking she wants an apple, when she is headed for the gas stove to light her cigarette.”

—Natalie Goldberg

 

“ A good device to remember is the fishhook. It rises slowly and then hooks back, so it will dig in and stick. It is barbed. Its curve points back to its beginning, to remind itself and the reader where it came from.

Many professionals employ the Hook in their writing: They begin with a word, action, or symbol and at the end of their article or story come back to it. All that has intervened between the first and second mention makes its second appearance more exciting or significant than its first.”

—Ken Macrorie

 

“ When we have spent enough years on earth and gained knowledge of the longing that exist within us and in the hearts of others, we may finally understand that if there is anything truer than truth, it is the legend with which we frail mortals embellish that truth.”

—Robert Phillips

 

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