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25 Insights on Becoming a Better Writer

25 Insights on Becoming a Better Writer
When George Plimpton asked Ernest Hemingway what the best training for an aspiring writer would be in a 1954 interview, Hem replied, “Let’s say that he should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced by his own self to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with.” Today, writing well is more important than ever. Far from being the province of a select few as it was in Hemingway’s day, writing is a daily occupation for all of us — in email, on blogs, and through social media. It is also a primary means for documenting, communicating, and refining our ideas. So what can we do to improve our writing short of hanging ourselves? 1. Don’t just plan to write—write. 2. [The] Resistance knows that the longer we noodle around “getting ready,” the more time and opportunity we’ll have to sabotage ourselves. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

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The Seven Basic Plots: Christopher Booker Examines Common Narratives in Storytelling According to the British journalist and author Christopher Booker, there are only seven ‘storylines’ in the world. In his book, The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, a work that took over forty years to write, Booker surveys world literature, outlining commonalities and showing that, although there are a multitude of tales and endless variety in the telling, all narratives are really variations of the basic seven. Booker’s work is detailed, interesting, and very long—over 700 pages—but his message is simple. Whether they represent the deep psychological structures of human experience or whether they are merely constructs of tradition, no matter what the story, you’ll find one or more of these basic plotlines:

18 Quotes for Writers from Ernest Hemingway Today marks the 115th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s birth. In his lifetime, Papa had quite a lot to say about writing. Here are 18 of our favorite quotes, in no particular order. 1. (More) tips for writing well (Austin Govella at Thinking and Making) Published Wed, Jul 8, 2009 by Austin Govella. Updated Wed, Jul 8, 2009. As an editor, I’ve noticed several recurring bad habits you heathens would do well to disabuse yourselves of immediately. Almost without exception, these bad habits instantiate themselves as a series of stock phrases and constructions that reflect a lack of focus, a lack of fully developed argument, or the kind of intellectual laziness that sets in as you slog through your first draft.

Practical Tips on Writing a Book from 22 Brilliant Authors Hello there! If you enjoy the content on Neurotribes, consider subscribing for future posts via email or RSS feed. Steve Silberman reading at the Booksmith in SF. Writers' Boot Camp: Tip Roundup Edition September 30, 2010, 11:00 AM ET By Billie Hara For about a year, we at ProfHacker have offered advice about writing, as it’s such a large part of our work in higher education. Article Writing: Three Core Elements of Storytelling Think of a story. Any story. Maybe just Cinderella, for instance. What does it bring up right away to your mind? 1) Sequence 2) Suspense and 3) The roller coaster Stories are like magic lamps.

Nabokov on Inspiration and the Six Short Stories Everyone Should Read by Maria Popova “A prefatory glow, not unlike some benign variety of the aura before an epileptic attack, is something the artist learns to perceive very early in life.” “Show up, show up, show up,” Isabel Allende advised, “and after a while the muse shows up, too.” “Inspiration is for amateurs,” Chuck Close famously proclaimed, “the rest of us just show up and get to work.” Spice Up Your Writing With Dialogue by Judy Cullins Does your chapter sound like a report? Does it go on and on with past tense sentences that tell, rather than show? To spice up your self help, non-fiction or fiction book and even promotional writing, you need to use much more dialogue. Why?

How to Recover Your Writing Confidence (Even if You Think You Never Had Any) (Image from Flickr by hans s) No writer I know ever feels totally confident about their writing. A lack of confidence is absolutely normal (or at least, as normal as writers get…) The Rule of 200 - ProfHacker - The Chronicle of Higher Education Many of the Library's electronic resources, including databases, electronic journals, and selected Virginia Tech electronic theses and dissertations, are restricted to current Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students. WARNING: The abuse of VT-licensed online resources by such means as systematic downloading violates the university's acceptable use policy, jeopardizes Tech's future access to resources, and is prohibited. Firewall software active on your local computer or configured by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can block access to Off Campus Sign In. A common symptom is a blank screen or Page Not Found error after submitting your PID/ password. Problems? Questions?

Hero's journey "A Practical Guide to Joseph Cambell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Christopher Vogler © 1985 “There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.” In the long run, one of the most influential books of the 20th century may turn out to be Joseph Campbell’s THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES. The book and the ideas in it are having a major impact on writing and story-telling, but above all on movie-making. Filmmakers like John Boorman, George Miller, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Francis Coppola owe their successes in part to the ageless patterns that Joseph Campbell identifies in the book.

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