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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

If You Want To Write Fiction

• Be a reader of fiction. Read broadly and deeply in the realm of writing you wish to pursue, but also try to avoid reading only the things you know you will like. Remember that many of your future favorites may be works you didn’t like initially but grew to appreciate. Make a personal anthology of works and parts of works that you admire. Look at it as a whole when it has grown large, in order to discern patterns in what you like—patterns you would probably not notice in your day-to-day routine of reading. Develop your own sense of quality in writing ( your own writing and that of others ), and stand by it without making law of it. And don’t write what you wouldn’t read.

• Your admiration of fiction should include a persistent curiosity about how it works on you—how it produces an experience of the sort you long for.

• Learn to love the practice of writing, rather than thinking only of the rewards that may come after you have written. Remember that no writing is wasted effort: failed attempts are practice and raw material for other efforts. Never be without pen and paper or some way of making notes. Don’t decide to be a writer if you don’t like to write (which is not to say that it should be easy). Know what you want from writing and why you want it.
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