Monday, May 13, 2013

Writing Tips - 10 Writing Insights

From Gotham Writers' Workshop Inc. comes 10 Writing Insights by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd.
Tracy Kidder is a renowned nonfiction writer, known as a literary journalist for the way he combines story and voice with exhaustive research. He is the author of Among Schoolchildren and The Soul of a New Machine, which won a Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.

Richard Todd served as executive editor of the esteemed magazine The Atlantic and as the editor of his own book imprint at Houghton Mifflin. Kidder and Todd collaborated on the book Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction.

1. To write is to talk to strangers. you have to inspire confidence, to seem and to be trustworthy.

2. It is always prudent to remember that one is not Tolstoy or Dickens.

3. Don't concentrate on technique, which can be the same as concentrating on yourself. Give yourself to the story.

4. The reader wants to see you not trying to impress, but trying to get somewhere.

5. For a story to have a chance to live, it is essential only that there be something at stake. A car chase is not required.

6. Try to attune yourself to the sound of your own writing. If you can't imagine yourself saying something aloud, then you probably shouldn't write it.

7. The creating of a style often begins with a negative achievement. Only by rejecting what comes too easily can you clear a space for yourself.

8. Use words wantonly and you disappear before your own eyes. Use them well and you create yourself.

9. The best work is done when one's eye is simply on the work, not on its consequence, or on oneself. It is something done for its own sake. It is, in Lewis Hyde's term, a gift.

10. Be willing to surprise yourself.

Thank you to Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd for their insight. Thank you to the Gotham Writers' Workshop for their interview.


4 comments:

  1. Love #6! I always try to read my blogs back aloud. Not only does it help me catch errors, but it also helps me to see if they are "conversational."

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm too sassy for my own good and any time I write a story they way I would tell it aloud I think it doesn't go well. Hmmm. maybe this is a clue I should take...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Number 9 is my favorite. Whenever I worry about a post being popular more than saying what I need to say from my heart, it's a poor imitation of the writing I hoped it would be.

    Thanks for sharing. Stopping by from SITS.

    ReplyDelete
  4. These are all great. I think the reason I like writing blog posts so much is that the opportunity to test #'s 1-10 happen every day, and the feedback is instantaneous.
    Great list. I love it.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment.