Shyness & Best Writers

27 03 2017

Do Shy People Make the Best Writers?

Why are shy people such as E.B. White, J.K. Rowling, and Joan Didion drawn to writing as a career? Are shy authors more likely to grasp ‘the nature and beauty of brevity’?
In 1925, an aspiring young writer called E.B. White thought he would take a shot at writing for a new magazine called the New Yorker. He sent in some pieces without any covering letter—just a self-addressed stamped envelope for the rejection. White was excruciatingly shy and remained so all his life.

The self-addressed envelope, which email has since rendered obsolete, used to be the shy writer’s salvation. It let them receive a “yes” or “no” via the mailbox, without having to network or schmooze editors, or talk to anyone else at all. Years later, when he was the New Yorker’s star writer, White said with feeling: “Magazines that refuse unsolicited manuscripts strike me as lazy, incurious, self-assured, and self-important.” No wonder that his favorite play was Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, the title character of which ghost-writes witty and eloquent letters for someone else. And only a shy person like White would have written about New York as the city that could bestow “on any person who desires such queer prizes… the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy.”

White’s shyness runs all the way through his classic guide to writing, The Elements of Style (1959). He based this on an earlier guide written by Will Strunk, his old professor at Cornell, which he admired as an essay on the “nature and beauty of brevity.” Good writing did not offer the writer’s opinions gratuitously, The Elements of Style ruled, because that would imply that “the demand for them is brisk, which may not be the case.” For White, the best prose combined simplicity and self-concealment. Writing was, he wrote in 1964, “both a mask and an unveiling”—especially for the personal essayist, “who must take his trousers off without showing his genitals.” A writer’s voice was a vehicle for disguised egotism, he felt, and tact and taste were vital parts of the disguise.

Read further @  The Daily Beast





Wanna be a Novelist?

11 03 2017

NELL ZINK: HOW TO BECOME
A NOVELIST IN TEN EASY STEPS

1. Examine your motives
2. Arrange financing
3. Write a bad novella
4. Don’t publish the bad novella
5. Think of a plot and characters
6. Write your debut
7. Never worry about style
8. Get an agent
9. Sell it
10. Write another one

Read further @ Literary Hub





Writing a Blockbuster Book

1 03 2017

theThe Bestseller Experiment: can you deliberately write a blockbuster book?

Mark Stay and Mark Desvaux are picking up clues from publishers and authors in a new podcast, while they go about trying to write the next bestseller

Everyone may have a book in them, but what about a bestselling one? It would seem obvious that the big-name authors are going to go straight to the top of the charts, but periodically a book comes out of nowhere that captures the imagination — and the public’s money — to become a break-out hit.

But is there actually a formula for writing a bestseller? Mark Stay and Mark Desvaux think think there might be, and they’ve given themselves one year to make it happen.

Stay has some form in publishing: he works for Orion and has writing chops, having written the screenplay and resulting novel for the movie Robot Overlords, which was released last year.

Read further @ The Guardian





Tips to be a Better Writer

1 03 2017

become-a-better-writerHow to Be a Better Writer: 6 Tips From Harvard’s Steven Pinker

U want 2B a better writer?

Good writing is often looked at as an art and, frankly, that can be intimidating. No need to worry. There are rules — even science — behind writing well.

Our brain works a particular way; so what rules do we need to know to write the way the brain best understands?

To find out the answer, check out the 6 tips by Steven Pinker:

  1. Be visual and conversational. Be concrete, make your reader see and stop trying to impress.
  2. Beware “the curse of knowledge.” Have someone read your work and tell you if it makes sense. Your own brain cannot be trusted.
  3. Don’t bury the lead. Clarity beats suspense. If they don’t know what it’s about they can’t follow along.
  4. You don’t have to play by the rules, but try. If you play it straight 99% of the time, that 1% will really shine.
  5. Read Read Read. The English language is too complex to learn from one book. Never stop learning.
  6. Good writing means revising. Never hit “send” or “print” without reviewing your work — preferably multiple times.

Read futher @ Time





NINE NON-RULES FOR WRITING

17 02 2017

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THE FIRST RULE OF NOVEL-WRITING IS DON’T WRITE A NOVEL

ELIZABETH PERCER: NINE NON-RULES FOR WRITING

If you’d asked me 15 years ago how I saw my future, I would tell you about all the hard work I’d put into earning my doctorate, about the post doc that promised me a way into a fantastic research opportunity; about the tenure track position I hoped to secure one day. I would tell you all this with a clenched jaw, a fierce smile, and a knot in my belly. Because although I’d spent most of my young life envisioning academic achievement as the pinnacle of success and fulfillment, these goals were forged from a lifetime of trying to measure up. I’d shoved my quirky, not particularly scientific self into a mold that suited my family of physicists, mathematicians, and software designers. But somehow along the way, in measuring myself against those I loved and admired, I forgot to check in to see if there was a form within me that was more essential and less shapely, to see if I had measures of my own to follow.

It wouldn’t be until after several life-altering events—most notably, the birth of my three children in somewhat rapid succession—that I would slowly relinquish my grasp on borrowed titles. Once liberated, however, I found myself in the distinctly uncomfortable position of realizing that original compositions are so much harder to develop than derivative ones, not least because they don’t have the same examples to follow.

Still, like any good academic, I tried for years to work at my writing the same way I’d worked at anything. I pushed myself. I was stern with myself. I created strict rules to follow and chastised myself when I didn’t follow them. When that didn’t work, I looked to experts, who told me that I needed to write for about the same time every day in the same place, or that I should seriously consider getting an MFA, or that I should seriously consider not getting an MFA, or who told me that only the most talented writers could succeed, or that true creative talent would never realize any kind of commercial success, or who told me I was too young, or too old. It’s no wonder that in looking for others to tell me how I needed to be, I got into the habit of showing up to my writing at the same time in the same place and freeze.

Read further @ Literary Hub





Drawing Stories

17 02 2017

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HOW TO DRAW A NOVEL

TRACING THE SHAPES OF THE STORIES WE TELL

Mexican writer Martin Solares likes to draw the shapes of novels—describe the plot, in a literal sense.  The following is the introductory chapter to How to Draw a Novel, a work-in-progress translation—in collaboration with poet Tanya Huntington—of his original Spanish title, Cómo Dibujar Una Novela, which will feature entirely new chapters. 

Some say novels are constellations composed of words; others, the closest we will ever come to a powerful incantation. From page one, they transport us to a world where every word conceals more than one intention and the very laws of physics operate differently. Baptized by their authors with suggestive, enigmatic names that sometimes constitute the first words of the spell being cast, novels are frequently baptized a second time by their readers, transforming them into something more endearing and familiar.

While we are compelled to choose a single bough from the tree of life, albeit a dazzling one, a well-constructed novel can lay claim to several branches at once: the most unexpected and passionate, the most unsettling and amusing. Then there are those that recount the greatest failures, the most ambitious exertions, or the feats that once seemed impossible to us.

Novels do not openly tell us how to live, but they do tell us stories. In difficult times, when one seeks to overcome life’s cares, the novel offers us a tale that seems to have been written expressly for the present time.

Read further @ Literary Hub





Writing Advice from Top Women Writers

7 12 2016

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Inspirational writing advice from Louisa May Alcott and 26 other great women authors

Here is her advice for women writing, along with the words of 25 other female authors who paved the way in the world of literature.
Writers like Arundhati Roy, Alice Walker, Margaret Atwood, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith.

Read further @  The Telegraph