Advice on Writing From Several of the Greats

Ernest Hemmingway[I’m not sure where all these quotes originated or if someone has assembled this list before, but I had notes containing all these quotes and after rereading them, thought it would be worth sharing.]

“What I try to do is write… And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’ ”—Maya Angelou

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”—Elmore Leonard

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”—Isaac Asimov

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”—Elmore Leonard

“A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.”—Edgar Allen Poe

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”—Ernest Hemingway

“Quantity produces quality.  If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.”—Ray Bradbury

“Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive where you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.”—George Orwell

“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia”.—Kurt Vonnegut

“Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible….Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why…”—Kurt Vonnegut

“Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read!  You’ll absorb it. Then, write.”—William Faulkner

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