About Writers, inspiration, publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op, writing technique

Insights

Secrets of Bestselling Authors

INSPIRATION & IDEAS
“Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth.”
– Paula Danziger

GETTING STARTED
“Two questions form the foundation of all novels: ‘What if?’ and ‘What next?’ (A third question, ‘What now?’, is one the author asks himself every 10 minutes or so; but it’s more a cry than a question.) Every novel begins with the speculative question, What if ‘X’ happened? That’s how you start.”
– Tom Clancy

STYLE & CRAFT
“What a writer has to do is write what hasn’t been written before or beat dead men at what they have done.”
– Ernest Hemingway

PURPOSE
“The only obligation any artist can have is to himself. His work means nothing, otherwise. It has no meaning.”
– Truman Capote

CHARACTERS
“The writer must always leave room for the characters to grow and change. If you move your characters from plot point to plot point, like painting by the numbers, they often remain stick figures. They will never take on a life of their own. The most exciting thing is when you find a character doing something surprising or unplanned. Like a character saying to me: ‘Hey, Richard, you may think I work for you, but I don’t. I’m my own person.’”
– Richard North Patterson

PLOT & STRUCTURE
“The problem for me is finding my own plots. They take a long time. … I like to have it happen, just like in our own lives. We don’t always know where they’re going, and if we make formal decisions on a given night, if we sit down and put a list of things we’re going to do on a piece of paper, they almost never work out right.”
– Norman Mailer

RITUALS & METHODS
“The conclusion to be drawn is that I am happiest writing in small rooms. They make me feel comfortable and secure. And it took me years to figure out that I need to write in a corner. Like a small animal burrowing into its hole, I shift furniture around, and back myself into a cozy corner, with my back to the wall … and then I can write.”
– Danielle Steel

REVISION & EDITING
“I do not rewrite unless I am absolutely sure that I can express the material better if I do rewrite it.”
– William Faulkner

PUBLISHING
“Publishers want to take chances on books that will draw a clamor and some legitimate publicity. They want to publish controversial books. That their reasons are mercenary and yours may be lofty should not deter you.”
– Harlan Ellison

READERS
“In truth, I never consider the audience for whom I’m writing. I just write what I want to write.”
– J.K. Rowling

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4 thoughts on “Insights

  1. mimispeike says:

    This is the way I feel: “In truth, I never consider the audience for whom I’m writing. I just write what I want to write.” – J.K. Rowling

    An editor said to me – “Your style says to readers, I don’t care what you think.” I was quite intimidated by that, for a good while. I eventually got over it, I had to, I am unable to write any other way.

    Tomcat Murr matches me on the Quirk-O-Meter quirk for quirk, and he’s still in print – and read (and adored) by a few – two hundred years after initial publication. When I’m low, Tomcat Murr gets me off my butt and back to work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • GD Deckard says:

      meh. The editor who told you that is ignorant to believe that “readers” are monolithic in caring what an author thinks about them, or that writers cannot change what people think. That “editor” sounds more like an entry-level salesperson. “Give ’em what they want! Yes! Let’em know you love them!” (dang, Carl E Reed could say this better. 🙂 )

      Liked by 2 people

  2. mimispeike says:

    She was talking about my intrusiveness. How would she react to Murr? E.T.A. Hoffman, the revered author, has intermingled two totally different stories, switching back and forth in the middle of a sentence with no notice, on the pretext that pages from two works were mistakenly combined at the printer. Since I read as much for color and phrasing as for story, it doesn’t put me off.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. mimispeike says:

    I have brought home from work a pdf of “How Fiction Works’. It looks very good, full of comments by top authors. It says it’s the tenth edition. Has anyone heard of it? I’ll write about it after I read it.

    Liked by 2 people

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