The Best Writing Tips

One of my most popular blog posts included quotations by famous authors, so I thought I’d share them again on The Write Stuff. The original post (with pictures and more text) can be found here: Writing Tips

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” Barbara Kingsolver

“If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Stephen King

“Beginning writers must appreciate the prerequisites if they hope to become writers. You pay your dues—which takes years.” Alex Haley

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L. Doctorow

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” William Faulkner

“You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft—then you can add all the genius you like.” Phyllis A. Whitney

“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” Henry David Thoreau

“My aim is to put down what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way I can tell it.” Ernest Hemingway

“I write as straight as I can, just as I walk as straight as I can, because that is the best way to get there.” H.G. Wells

“Good writers are those who keep the language efficient. That is to say, keep it accurate, keep it clear.” Ezra Pound

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
Robert Frost

“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” E.L. Doctorow

“As for the adjective, when in doubt leave it out.” Mark Twain

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Chekhov

“Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.” Kurt Vonnegut

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

“If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.” John Steinbeck

“There is no satisfactory explanation of style, no infallible guide to good writing, no assurance that a person who thinks clearly will be able to write clearly, no key that unlocks the door, no inflexible rules by which the young writer may steer his course. He will often find himself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.” E. B. White

“When you get in a tight place & everything goes against you, till it seems you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place & time that the tide will turn.”  Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Shut down the internet, set a timer for 15 minutes, and write. Hopefully, when the timer goes off, you will be involved in your story enough to keep going.” Marcia Strykowski

Release Day for Amy’s Choice!

Strykowski Author PhotoHi fellow readers and writers! I’m so happy to be able to pop on here during my book’s birthday celebration. Amy’s Choice, a coming-of-age tween novel, is the sequel to Call Me Amy, which was selected for Bankstreet College of Education’s list of Best Children’s Books for 2014.

double covers

Amy finds more than an abandoned seal pup in her tiny fishing village on the coast of Maine during 1973. Both of these books are published by Luminis Books and today marks the official release of Amy’s Choice. I’ll be signing hot-off-the-press copies at the Salem, NH Barnes & Noble (2-4) and I’m also giving away prizes today on my own blog: www.marciastrykowski.com.

Meanwhile, I’d love to share this interview Marcia Meara posted on her popular Bookin’ It blog a while back. Here are the first questions followed by a link to the original post:

Wednesday Author Interview: Meet Marcia Strykowski

Bookin’ It is happy to have Childrens/Tween author Marcia Strykowski with us today. Hi, Marcia! Nice name! *grin* Could you tell us a bit about how you became a writer? When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career? 

MS: I was always creating storybooks as a kid, so my interest evolved from there. I took an array of classes in writing and illustrating books in college. Eventually I tried expanding one of my shorter manuscripts until it turned into my first tween novel, Call Me Amy. After much reworking, I submitted it to publishers and it was accepted by Luminis Books. My next two novels were a lot easier to write, now that I was familiar with the process. I also joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) and volunteered at their conferences. Most importantly, I’ve been in several long-term critique groups over the years. 

BI: I love the genre you are aiming for with Call Me Amy. Those “tween” years seem to fall between the cracks, at times, with many books being geared for much younger audiences, or much older, more experienced ones. Were you inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you? 

MS: I’m inspired by many different authors—there are so many great ones. Novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Anne of Green Gables, where the characters, setting, and storyline stay with you long after the last page, are especially inspirational. A few of the many authors who motivate me include Katherine Paterson, Richard Peck, M. M. Kaye, and Willa Cather. 

BI: Great choices. What genres do you read most often for pleasure…those books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore? 

MS: I would probably first check out the YA section and I especially enjoy historical fiction. For example, I recently listened to The Invention of Wingsby Sue Monk Kidd on audio—loved it! 

BI: Haven’t read The Invention of Wings, yet, but I loved The Secret Life of Bees, and The Mermaid’s Chair. I’m making note, here. On to the more physical aspects of your writing. Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day? 

To continue reading the rest of this interview, please click here.

To find out more about the ‘Amy’ books (and to win gift cards and books), please follow my website (I’ll look forward to checking out yours in turn). I’m also on Twitter: @MarciaStry

Okay, I’m off to help Amy blow out her birthday candles. Thanks so much for joining us and happy National Author’s Day, too (a nice coincidence)!