Roberto Bolaño on Writing Short Stories

“Never approach short stories one at a time. If one approaches short stories one at a time, one can quite honestly be writing the same short story until the day one dies.”


Write What You Don’t Know

“Somerset Maugham’s edict to write what you know is among the dumbest pieces of advice ever given about writing, and it has recently become more harmful than even he realized. The maxim of ‘write what you know’ is revolting self-help propaganda: you’re good enough, you don’t need to keep learning, your experience of the world is valid and complete in itself.” -Alex Carnevale

Geri Doran on the Struggle of Writing

“A long time ago I read an essay – I’ve forgotten the author – about the ‘talent of the room.’ Plenty of people have a gift for word or line, the essayist argued, but can you sit for hours struggling over a passage while boisterous, compelling life goes on around you? Can you close the door, be alone, and write? So there’s that – a preference for the solitary trouble of making poems over all the other things I might be doing.”

-Geri Doran

Other posts of note :

32 Rules for Writing : (Tedious Humor Alert)

  1. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  2. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
  3. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  4. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat)
  5. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  6. Be more or less specific.
  7. Remarks in brackets (however relevant) are (usually) (but not always) unnecessary.
  8. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  9. No sentence fragments.
  10. Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
  11. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  12. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  13. One should NEVER generalize.
  14. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
  15. Don’t use no double negatives. Continue reading “32 Rules for Writing : (Tedious Humor Alert)”

Bloom on Strunk & White

Harold Bloom on  William Strunk and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style:

“I put that book away from me with some loathing twenty years ago, but I looked at it earlier today, and I just burst out laughing. If I were asked to sum up its teachings, they would be: put yourself in the background, avoid all figurative language if possible, and don’t be opinionated. The first half, the rules of grammar and so forth, is perfectly sensible, but you could not write two pages in which you try to say anything that matters to you and obey what is going on in the second half of that little manual. It outlaws everything that I care for in writing, in literature, in the act of writing. It tries to pretend it’s against the overly baroque, but what it’s against is what I would say is imagination itself.”