Advice to Writers

A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes, and Writerly Wisdom from a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights

by Jon Winokur

Advice to Writers

Paperback, 240 pages, Textstream, List Price: $15 | purchase

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  • A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes, and Writerly Wisdom from a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights
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Book Summary

An anthology of timeless wisdom and wit on the work and world of writing features the contributions of such notable authors as Euripides, Mark Twain, Cynthia Ozick, P. J. O'Rourke, Annie Dillard, Virginia Woolfe, and many others. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.

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Three Books...

Jargon To Jabberwocky: 3 Books On Writing Well

Advice to Writers, edited by Jon Winokur, is a collection of quotations on the writer's craft. The book offers nothing less than the collective trench wisdom of generations of great authors: Mark Twain — "when you catch an adjective, kill it"; Hemingway on persistence — he claimed to scrawl 91 clunky pages for every sparkler; and Flaubert on the necessity of revision — "prose is like hair," he wrote, "it shines with combing". After reading Winokur's book of

Jonathan Gottschall

Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: Advice To Writers

Advice to Writers

On agents: "Choose your agent as carefully as you would choose your accountant or lawyer. Or dentist." — Russell Banks

On characters: "The characters have their own lives and their own logic, and you have to act accordingly." — Isaac Bashevis Singer

On colleagues: "Artists never thrive in colonies. Ants do. What the budding artist needs is the privilege of wrestling with his problems in solitude — and now and the a piece of red meat." — Henry Miller

On critics and criticism: "It is advantageous to an author that his book should be attacked as well as praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck at only one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends." — Samuel Johnson

On dialogue: "Dialogue in fiction should be reserved for the culminating moments and regarded as the spray into which the great wave of narrative breaks in curving toward the watcher on the shore." — Edith Wharton

On discouragement: "Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." — Red Smith

On drink: "First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you." — F. Scott Fitzgerald

On editors and editing: "Bow down before them. They know what they are doing." — Quentin Crisp

On grammar and usage: "Usage is the only test. I prefer a phrase that is easy and unaffected to a phrase that is grammatical." — W. Somerset Maugham

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