‘A story needs rhythm. Read it aloud to yourself. If it doesn’t spin a bit of magic, it’s missing something.’ Esther Freud
‘Always carry a notebook. 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
‘I always have to know my characters in a lot of depth–what clothes they’d choose, what they were like at school, etc . . . And I know what happened before and what will happen after the part of their lives I’m dealing with.’ Alice Munro
‘Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. This sounds easy, but in practice is incredibly difficult… Common phrases have become so comfortable that they create no emotional response. Take the time to invent fresh, powerful images.’ George Orwell
‘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
‘Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.’ Elmore Leonard
‘Don’t say it was delightful; make us say delightful when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers Please will you do the job for me.’ CS Lewis
‘Be daring, take on anything. Don’t labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind.’ Joyce Carol Oates
‘My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.’ Anton Chekhov
‘Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.’ Margaret Atwood
‘Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion.’ Franz Kafka
‘Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other people. Nothing that happens to a writer – however happy, however tragic – is ever wasted.’ PD James
Published by fcmalby
F.C.Malby's debut novel, Take Me to the Castle, won The People’s Book Awards. Her second novel, Dead Drop, is a 'lyrical, daring' thriller, published by Linen Press. Her debut short story collection, My Brother Was a Kangaroo, includes award-winning stories published in literary journals and magazines worldwide. She is a contributor to anthologies including In Defence of Pseudoscience: Reflex Fiction Volume Five (Reflex Press), Unthology 8 (Unthank Books), and Hearing Voices: The Litro Anthology of New Fiction (Kingston University Press) alongside Pulitzer prize winner, Anthony Doerr.
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Outstanding and well-needed by me! Thank you. 🙂
I’m glad it was helpful, Bette.
Reblogged this on 4writersandreaders and commented:
Advice from great authors! ~ Bette
Thanks for posting this — loved it, especially the quotes by Freud and James.
We all need inspiration from time to time. Freud and James are very wise women.