Advice to Writers: A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes, and Writerly Wisdom from a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights [NOOK Book]

Overview

In Advice to Writers, Jon Winokur, author of the bestselling The Portable Curmudgeon, gathers the counsel of more than four hundred celebrated authors in a treasury on the world of writing. Here are literary lions on everything from the passive voice to promotion and publicity: James Baldwin on the practiced illusion of effortless prose, Isaac Asimov on the despotic tendencies of editors, John Cheever on the perils of drink, Ivan Turgenev on matrimony and the Muse. Here, too, are the secrets behind the ...
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Advice to Writers: A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes, and Writerly Wisdom from a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights

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Overview

In Advice to Writers, Jon Winokur, author of the bestselling The Portable Curmudgeon, gathers the counsel of more than four hundred celebrated authors in a treasury on the world of writing. Here are literary lions on everything from the passive voice to promotion and publicity: James Baldwin on the practiced illusion of effortless prose, Isaac Asimov on the despotic tendencies of editors, John Cheever on the perils of drink, Ivan Turgenev on matrimony and the Muse. Here, too, are the secrets behind the sleight-of-hand practiced by artists from Aristotle to Rita Mae Brown. Sagacious, inspiring, and entertaining, Advice to Writers is an essential volume for the writer in every reader.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Best advice I've ever received: Finish."  --Peter Mayle

"Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke."  --F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Make your characters want something right away even if it's only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time."  --Kurt Vonnegut

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307554154
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/2010
  • Series: Vintage
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 901,699
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jon Winokur is the author of a dozen books, including The Portable Curmudgeon and The Rich Are Different.  He lives in Pacific Palisades, California.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt

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


From the Hardcover edition.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Author's Note
Agents 3
Characters 6
Colleagues 13
Critics and Criticism 16
Dialogue 20
Discouragement 23
Drink 30
Editors and Editing 33
Encouragement 44
Genres 57
Grammar and Usage 74
Material 82
Money 87
Occupational Hazards 90
Plagiarism 94
Plot 96
Prizes 99
Process 102
Publicity and Promotion 110
Publishers and Publishing 116
Punctuation 120
Qualifications and Requirements 123
The Reader 133
Reading 139
Rules and Commandments 144
The Secret 149
Style 156
Success and Failure 162
Technique 165
Tricks of the Trade 168
Why You Write 176
Words 179
Work Habits 186
Writer's Block 190
The Writer's Life 199
Writing Advice 202
Selected Bibliography 207
Permissions Acknowledgments 212
Index 213
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2002

    Writing ain't no picnic.

    I'd recommend this book to any writer. The quotes are not only entertaining but if you are trying to get into writing or are already writing you will find numerous words that you can identify with within these pages. It's just fun to read. While some of the advice from the different writers is contradictory, it shows the diversity of approaches in the writing world.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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