I can’t pick just one quote from this Brain Pickings piece. David Foster Wallace was brilliant and his ideas about writing, teaching, and getting better should be mandatory reading for all writers.
Actually, I can pull one quote: Good writing isn’t a science. It’s an art, and the horizon is infinite. You can always get better.
James Parker for The New York Times:
These things I learned by reading books aloud, into the pricked and critical ear of my son, and they are writing lessons too. Keep it crisp; tell a good story; don’t muck about; don’t be afraid to say the same thing twice, if it’s important; respect the reader; have some loyalty to your characters; and when you feel the urge to get descriptive, sit on it. (Much of this comes under Elmore Leonard’s 10th rule of writing: “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”) They strike me as solid tips for narrative fiction, even though I’ve never published any. My own little stock-in-trade — the 1,200-word pop-cultural think piece — did not feature largely, for some reason, in our evening sessions.
There’s an old editing trick I learned: Read your draft aloud. You catch quite a bit when you hear the words leave your tongue. Depending on the genre, those with young children might have a built-in audience to test their prose. I just wouldn’t try out the next 50 Shades on them…
Be careful what you use as a bookmark. Thousands of dollars, a Christmas card signed by Frank Baum, a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card, a marriage certificate from 1879, a baby’s tooth, a diamond ring and a handwritten poem by Irish writer Katharine Tynan Hickson are just some of the stranger objects discovered inside books by AbeBooks.com booksellers.
My friend Brighton Walsh makes her New Adult debut this November with her book, Caged in Winter from Berkley Trade. She asked Twitter for some questions about her publishing path for a blog post, which went live yesterday. I provided several of the questions, including the last and most important one.
Side note: If you pre-order her book (or shop at all) using the Amazon link above, a portion of the sale will be donated to Coalition for the Homeless through Amazon’s Smile program.
Lauren Bacall: 1924-2014.