I ran across an excerpt today (in English translation) of some dialogue/narration from the modern popular writer, Paulo Coelho in his book: Aleph.(Note: bracketed text is mine.)... 'I spoke to three scholars,' [the character says 'at last.'] ...two of them said that, after death, the [sic (misprint, fault of the publisher)] just go to Paradise. The third one, though, told me to consult some verses from the Koran. [end quote]' ...I can see that he's excited. [narrator]' ...Now I have many positive things to say about Coelho: He is respectable, inspiring as a man, a truth-seeker, and an appealing writer; but one should hesitate to call him a 'literary' writer based on this quote. A 'literary' author knows that a character's excitement should be 'shown' in his or her dialogue and not in the narrator's commentary on it. Advice for Coelho: Remove the 'I can see that he's excited' sentence and show his excitement in the phrasing of his quote.(Now, in defense of Coelho, I am firmly of the opinion, having myself written plenty of prose that is flawed, that a novelist should be forgiven for slipping here and there.)Lastly, it appears that a belief in reincarnation is of great interest to Mr. Coelho ... Just think! He is a man who has achieved, (as Leonard Cohen would call it), 'a remote human possibility.' He has won lots of fame and tons of money. And yet, how his preoccupation with reincarnation—none other than an interest in being born again as somebody else—suggests that he is not happy!
Don’t write with a pen. Ink tends to give the impression the words shouldn’t be changed.Write with what gives you the most sensual satisfaction.Write in a hard-covered notebook with green lined pages. Green is easy on the eyes. Blank white pages seems to challenge you to create the world before you start writing. It may be true that you, the modern poet, must make the world as you go, but why be reminded of it before you even have one word on the page?Don’t erase. Cross out rapidly and violently, never with slow consideration if you can help it.Start, as some smarty once said, in the middle of things.Play with syntax.Never want to say anything so strongly that you have to give up the option of finding something better – if you have to say it, you will.Read your poem aloud many times. If you don’t enjoy it every time, something may be wrong.If you ask a question, don’t answer it, or answer a question not asked, or defer. (If you can answer the question, to ask it is to waste time).Maximum sentence length: seventeen words.Minimum: One.Don’t be afraid to take emotional possession of words. If you don’t love a few words enough to own them, you will have to be very clever to write a good poem.
A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.
I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they're going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there's going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don't know how many branches it's going to have, they find out as it grows. And I'm much more a gardener than an architect.
Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words.
I write to find strength.I write to become the person that hides inside me.I write to light the way through the darkness for others.I write to be seen and heard.I write to be near those I love.I write by accident, promptings, purposefully and anywhere there is paper. I write because my heart speaks a different language that someone needs to hear.I write past the embarrassment of exposure.I write because hypocrisy doesn’t need answers, rather it needs questions to heal. I write myself out of nightmares.I write because I am nostalgic, romantic and demand happy endings.I write to remember.I write knowing conversations don’t always take place.I write because speaking can’t be reread.I write to sooth a mind that races.I write because you can play on the page like a child left alone in the sand.I write because my emotions belong to the moon; high tide, low tide.I write knowing I will fall on my words, but no one will say it was for very long.I write because I want to paint the world the way I see love should be.I write to provide a legacy.I write to make sense out of senselessness.I write knowing I will be killed by my own words, stabbed by critics, crucified by both misunderstanding and understanding. I write for the haters, the lovers, the lonely, the brokenhearted and the dreamers.I write because one day someone will tell me that my emotions were not a waste of time. I write because God loves stories.I write because one day I will be gone, but what I believed and felt will live on.
Every word I write is like a drop of my blood. If it's flowed passionately and long, I need time to recover from the emotion spent before I begin a new story. My characters are aspects of my life. I have to respectfully and carefully move between them.
You need three things to become a successful novelist: talent, luck and discipline. Discipline is the one element of those three things that you can control, and so that is the one that you have to focus on controlling, and you just have to hope and trust in the other two.
In fact, one could argue that the skill of the fiction writer boils down to the ability to exploit intensity.
What do you want? What are you willing to give up to get it? Writing requires you make sacrifices. Be prepared to work hard to be a writer.
All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane.
I always tell my writing students that every good piece of writing begins with both a mystery and a love story. And that every single sentence must be a poem. And that economy is the key to all good writing. And that every character has to have a secret.
Depend upon it, after all, Thomas, Literature is the most noble of professions. In fact, it is about the only one fit for a man. For my own part, there is no seducing me from the path.
I never waited for my Irish Cream coffee to be the right temperature, with a storm happening outside and my fireplace crackling ... I wrote every day, at home, in the office, whether I felt like it or not, I just did it.
Don’t start right off writing the ‘Great American Novel’, that's too much pressure and you'll get disappointed; start with porn, it’s fun and a good way to get your feet wet.
grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mould of the mind: out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has long ago been forgotten, descending into the deeps.
So it is that a writer writes many books. In each book, he intended several urgent and vivid points, many of which he sacrificed as the book's form hardened.
I came on the old and best ways of writing through ignorance and experiment and was startled when truths leaped out of brushes like quail before gunshot.
A dear and long-time friend,... asked me, Jack, how long does it usually take you to write a book? I replied, Of course it depends on the project and its requirements, each book has its own rules. But for a statement to the world at large, once I've thought a book through and written it in my mind, it takes me around a week or so, depending on this and that, ordinarily at the rate of a chapter a day, but I've had some two-chapters day and some chapters have taken two days. And then of course there is revision, but around a week is about right. He seemed surprised, and I was surprised by his surprise, so I thought, maybe I'm wrong. I went home and wrote this book, at the perfectly normal pace of a chapter a day, as usual...
I say fuck the old advice 'show, don't tell.' It's called story TELLING for a reason, and I'll stick to it!
Good or bad, words have an impact on each of us. As a writer, I can only hope that the effects my words have on others are more often good than bad.
I'm writing. The pages are starting to stack up. My morale is improving the more I feel like a writer.
... And the only way to find that honesty is to not overthink it.For your writing to come alive--to be multi-dimensional--you must barter away some control.
Comparisons deplete the actuality of the things compared... (Conveyance: The Story I would Not Want Bill Wilson To Read)
You might say as you tirelessly said of my stories, at least of the adjectives, that I should render the evidence, not render the verdict... (Conveyance: The Story I would Not Want Bill Wilson To Read)