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A Treasure Trove of Tips on Writing Part 2

In my last post I mentioned that two of the best ways to improve your writing skills are to study good books (more on that in my next post), and to read books that discuss writing.

I shared some inspiring quotes from the The Paris Review Interviews, a collection of conversations with some of the world’s foremost writers. Described by Salman Rushdie as “the finest available inquiry into the ‘how’ of literature,” this series is an invaluable resource for authors of all stripes.

Without further ado, here are some more words of literary wisdom from The Paris Review Interviews:

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez: “One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph, and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily. In the first paragraph you solve most of the problems with your book. The theme is defined, the style, the tone.”
  • Stephen King: “When I sit down to write, my job is to move the story. If there is such a thing as pace in writing, and if people read me because they’re getting a story that’s paced a certain way, it’s because they sense I want to get to where I’m going. I don’t want to dawdle around and look at the scenery.”
  • Joan Didion: “When I’m working on a book, I constantly retype my own sentences. Every day I go back to page one and just retype what I have. It gets me into a rhythm. Once I get over maybe a hundred pages, I won’t go back to page one, but I might go back to page fifty-five, or twenty, even. But then every once in a while I feel the need to back to page one again and start rewriting. At the end of the day, I mark up the pages I’ve done – pages or page – all the way back to page one. I mark them up so that I can retype them in the morning. It gets me past that blank terror.”

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