The Masters Review Blog

Dec 11

Tuesday Tips: Great Advice from Great Authors

1. “Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.” — John Steinbeck

2. “Kill your darlings, kills your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” — Stephen King

3. “Remember: when people tell you what’s wrong, or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” — Neil Gaiman

4. “Quantity produces quality. If you write only a few things, you’re doomed.” — Ray Bradbury

5. “Do not hoard what seems good for a later place… Something more will arise for later, something better.” — Annie Dillard

6. “Use unlikely materials. Who would choose Pnin as hero, but how did we live before Pnin?” — Vladimir Nabokov

7. “You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.” — Margaret Atwood

8. “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.” — Zadie Smith

9. “It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.” — Jonathan Franzen

10. “The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying ‘Faire et se taire’ (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’”  — Helen Simpson


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