Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Writerly Advice from Hemingway, Vonnegut, Poe & friends

KURT VONNEGUT:  Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.

J. D. SALINGER: An artist’s one concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s. 

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: If I’d written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.

EDGAR ALLEN POE: The death of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world.

TONI MORRISON: The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.

CHINUA ACHEBE: Art is a constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him. 


ERNEST HEMINGWAY: There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

MARCEL PROUST: If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.


Deka Black said...

This remember me one thing said about Oscar Wilde. I don't know if is real, but with the humour (and character of Mr. Wilde, , well, i think could be.

The said a editor asked Wilde to shorten his latest work. And the response of the writer was what he was nobody to mutilate a classic.

Winifred said...

That's right. I never used a semi colon until I went to uni!

My favourite is a quote from playwright Dennis Potter. Not exactly correct word for word but this is near enough:
Stories, we love them, we tell them to each other all the time. The world is full of the sound of people trying to reshape reality.

Brian Drake said...

Hey, I like my semi-colons, Kurt. Why? Because I'm notoriously lazy and the semi-colon allows me to skip conjunctions. Not always, of course, but once in a while. And now that I have typed the word "conjunction" I have the song "conjunction junction, what's your function" going through my head. Thanks, Kurt. You've ruined yet another life.

Oscar Case said...

Semi-colons, semi-trucks, we need 'em both. I don't think one or two semi-colons in a book is too many, but I never paid that much attention to them anyway.

Evan Lewis said...

Personally, I don't like using any kinds of colons in fiction (not even human ones), so I just shoveled a passel of them into an envelope and mailed 'em to Cap'n Bob. I'm sure he'll make good use of them.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Everyone has their favorite punctuation mark. In my writing group, one guy loves the hyphen and would use one everywhere. I love the period. Period.