On Writing

"1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things–reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them–in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages."

Kurt Vonnegut

 

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” 

Stephen King

 

“Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 

Mark Twain

 

"I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."

Douglas Adams

 


“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”

Anais Nin

 


“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Anton Chekov

 

“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”

Virginia Woolf

 

“When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”

Kurt Vonnegut

 

"Never open a book with weather.
Avoid prologues.
Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely.
Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip."

Elmore Leonard