Thursday, July 28, 2011

Murder your darlings...

...and other great advice on writing from ten writers ranging from American journalist Dominick Dunne to writer and cartoonist Scott "Dilbert" Adams. Here's what they say:

1. Write one inch at a time
2. Finish your first draft
3. Get over it
4. Simplify
5. Murder your darlings
6. Lead with your best
7. Write with authority
8. Stand out as a real person
9. Remember to play
10. Show up for work

If you are interested in becoming a better writer, you are sure to benefit from paying attention to what the experts have to offer on the subject: Ten writers recall the best advice they ever received.

Which piece of advice is your favourite? My students know I'm a big fan of No. 5.
  • Re: "Murder your darlings" British literary editor and novelist Diana Athill has a slightly different take:
You don't always have to go so far as to murder your darlings—those turns of phrase or images of which you felt extra proud when they appeared on the page—but go back and look at them with a very beady eye. Almost always it turns out that they'd be better dead. (Not every little twinge of satisfaction is suspect—it's the ones which amount to a sort of smug glee you must watch out for.)

1 comment:

  1. This was helpful, I liked the tenth one. The example was even better.


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