Task of a Writer

“The task of a writer consists of being able to make something out of an idea.”

— Thomas Mann


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Explain the Inexplicable

“In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.”

— John Steinbeck


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Don’t Subscribe to Writer’s Block

“I don’t even subscribe to writer’s block being a truthful thing. I’ve had writer’s laziness quite often. But I think it’s all about sitting down and facing down the blank page and doing it, and I’ve always been ok at that.”

— Martin McDonagh


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Parallel [straight & narrow] Structure

Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D. on parallel structure:

Parallel structure means putting ideas of the same rank in the same grammatical structure. Your writing and speech should have parallel words, phrases, and clauses. Parallel structure gives your writing many admirable strengths, including the following:

    • Rhythm
    • Emphasis
    • balance
    • Impact
    • Crispness
    • Conciseness

Parallel words share the same part of speech (such as nouns, adjectives, or verbs) and tense (if the parallel word are verbs).

    • My date was obnoxious, loud, and cheap; no doubt he thought I was gorgeous, personable, and witty.
    • We pleaded, begged, and prayed—to no avail.

Parallel phrases create an underlying rhythm in your speech and writing…

    • “For taking away our Charters, abolishing our laws, and altering the Forms of our Government . . . ” (Declaration of Independence)
    • “Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need—not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle…” (John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech)

Parallel clauses can give your writing balance as well….

    • “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.” (John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech)
    • “Our chiefs are killed; Looking-Glass is dead; Ta-Hool-Shute is dead.” (Chief Joseph’s surrender speech, 1877)”

Rozakis‘s book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Grammar and Style, is an excellent resource for writers of all kinds. You can find it here.

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Highly Critical Eye

“A writer is a spectator, looking at everything with a highly critical eye.”

— Bernard Malamud


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Feel & Show

“It’s always a nice feeling, having people think that you feel things much deeper than you’re allowed to say, but this isn’t true. If you want to find out what a writer or a cartoonist really feels, look at his work. That’s enough.”

— Shel Silverstein


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Be Dramatic, Or…

“To be a dramatic writer takes hard work, talent, and discipline. And that’s why I just make up crap.”

— Colin Mochrie


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Don’t Leave Books Unfinished

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m a writer who’s writing books, and therefore, I don’t want to die. You’d miss the end of the book wouldn’t you? You can’t die with an unfinished book.”

— Terry Pratchett


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Write Now—More Than Ever

“But I work harder now because I have so much more exposure. And actually the harder you work as a writer, the better you get at it. It’s like anything else. It’s a muscle you have to exercise. I write more now than ever.”

— Ron White


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Quick book-signing trick

[found on acuff.me; by Jon Acuff]

“Pssst Writers! Quick book signing trick.

If you’re an author, and lots of you are, you are going to sign books. Here’s a trick my friend Robert D. Smith taught me.

Always sign in blue sharpie, not black. Why? Well, the publisher can publish in black. Sometimes books are printed with a signature. If you sign in blue though, readers know with completely certainty that you actually signed it. It’s a small thing, but small things can be awesome.

Go blue!”

[found on http://acuff.me/2014/10/pssst-writers-quick-book-signing-trick/]

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