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Advice from writers to writers
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Advice from writers to writers

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  • 1. 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, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 2. Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless.
    Joyce Carol Oates,
    author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 3. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
    Zadie Smith, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 4. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the Internet.
    Zadie Smith, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 5. Get on with it
    ColmToibin, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 6. Read lots.Write lots.
    Ian Rankin, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 7. Trust your creativity.
    Jeanette Winterson, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 8. Record moments, fleeting expressions, overheard dialogue, your own sadnesses and bewilderments and joys.
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
    Ted Hughes, poet
  • 9. By the time I sit down and face the blank page, I am raring to go. I tell it as if I’m talking to my best friend.
    Michael Morpurgo, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 10. When I’m deep inside a story, living as I write, I honestly don’t know what will happen.
    Michael Morpurgo, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 11. Once the book is finished in its first draft, I read it out loud to myself. How it sounds is hugely important
    Michael Morpurgo,
    author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 12. Read.Read everything you can lay your hands on.
    Michael Moorcock, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 13. Michael Moorcock, author
    Find an author you admire and copy their plots and characters in order to tell your own story, just as people learn to draw and paint by copying the masters
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 14. Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft. The greater your vocabulary, the more effective your writing.
    P D James, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 15. Don’t just plan to write – write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about, that we develop our own style.
    P D James, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 16. Open your mind to new experiences, particularly the study of other people. Nothing that happens to a writer – however happy, however tragic – is ever wasted
    P D James, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 17. Roddy Doyle,
    author
    Reread, rewrite, reread, rewrite. If it still doesn’t work, throw it away.
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 18. Write in the third person unless a really distinctive first-person voice offers itself irresistably.
    Jonathan Franzen, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 19. Roddy Doyle,
    author
    Do change your mind. Good ideas are often murdered by better ones.
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 20. Try to be accurate about stuff.
    Ann Enright, author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 21. Read. As much as you can. As deeply and widely and nourishingly and irritatingly as you can. And the good things will make you remember them, so you won’t need to take notes
    A L Kennedy,
    author
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 22. If you know what you are going to write when you're writing a poem, it's going to be average.
    Derek Walcott,
    poet
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
  • 23. What one writer can make in the solitude of one room is something no power can easily destroy.
    Marlcliffe Advice from Writers to Writers Series
    SalmanRushdie, author