Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Writing Advice

Woman shooting computer
When I need writerly advice, I go to the experts. (I really should have these words of wisdom tattoed on my arm...)

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.  ~James Michener

The wastebasket is a writer's best friend.  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood.  I'd type a little faster.  ~Isaac Asimov

A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one. ~Baltasar Gracián

I asked Ring Lardner the other day how he writes his short stories, and he said he wrote a few widely separated words or phrases on a piece of paper and then went back and filled in the spaces.  ~Harold Ross

Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.  ~Sholem Asch

The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes.  ~Agatha Christie

The road to hell is paved with adverbs.  ~Stephen King

It is plagiarism when you take something out of a book and use it as your own.  If you take it out of several books then it is research.  ~ Ralph Foss

It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write.  ~Sinclair Lewis

And finally...from William Safire

Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
~William Safire, "Great Rules of Writing"

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