Advice to Writers

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

by Jon Winokur

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

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Title
Advice to Writers
Subtitle
A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes, and Writerly Wisdom from a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights
Author
Jon Winokur

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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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Excerpt: 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