Writing Tips from Authors

It’s always fun to look around and see what writing advice authors have.  To start with I found an article about what authors who won the Nobel Prize for Literature had on writing. I found two helpful ones.

1. Make people believe in your story.
The Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. The celebrated author of novels such as A Hundred Years of Solitude was also a journalist. When asked about the difference between journalism and writing fiction, Marquez answered thus:

‘In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That’s the only difference, and it lies in the commitment of the writer. A novelist can do anything he wants so long as he makes people believe in it.’

2. Don’t focus on being done.
Of all the writing tips from authors, the advice John Steinbeck gave remains some of the best. In the Fall 1975 issue of The Paris Review (excerpted by The Atlantic here), Steinbeck wrote:

‘Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.’

Source: 8 Writing Tips from Authors Who Won the Nobel

I decided to keep looking and found a few more that are ones I find extremely helpful to my situation. They are as follows:

Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.” — Zadie Smith

“Always carry a note-book. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.” — Will Self

Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!” — Joyce Carol Oates

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” — Neil Gaiman

“Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.” — Zadie Smith

“The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying ‘Faire et se taire’ (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’” — Helen Simpson

Source: 20 Writing Tips from 12 Fiction Authors

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