How to Become a Writer: 50 Tips from Recognized Artists

How to Become a Writer: 50 Tips from Recognized Artists

George Orwell

British writer and publicist. The author of the 1984 dystopia and the satirical story Animal Farm, which criticize the totalitarian society. He lived and worked in the XX century.

  1. Never use a metaphor, comparison, or other phrasing that you often see on paper.
  2. Never use a long word where you can get away with a short one.
  3. If you can throw away a word, always get rid of it.
  4. Never use a passive voice if you can use an active one.
  5. Never use borrowed words, scientific or professional terms if they can be replaced with vocabulary from everyday language.
  6. Better to break any of these rules than to write something blatantly barbaric.

Kurt Vonnegut

One of the most influential American authors of the last century. Many of Vonnegut's works, such as Titan's Sirens and Cat's Cradle, have become classics of humanitarian fiction.

  1. Use a complete stranger's time in a way that doesn't feel like a waste of time.
  2. Give the reader at least one hero for whom you want to root for your soul.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it's just a glass of water.
  4. Each sentence should serve one of two purposes: to reveal the hero or to move events forward.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be sadistic. As cute and innocent as your protagonists are, treat them horribly: the reader must see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please only one person. If you open the window and make, so to speak, love with the whole world, your story will catch pneumonia.

Michael Moorcock

Contemporary British writer, very popular with fantasy fans. Moorcock's key work, a multivolume cycle about Elric of Melnibone.

  1. I borrowed my first rule from Terence Hanbury White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other books about King Arthur. It was like this: read. Read everything that comes to hand. I always advise people looking to write fantasy or science fiction or romance novels to stop reading these genres and tackle everything else, from John Bunyan to Antonia Bayette.
  2. Find an author you admire (Konrad was mine) and copy his stories and characters for your own story. Be the artist who imitates the master to learn how to paint.
  3. If you're writing story-driven prose, introduce the main characters and main themes in the first third. You can call it an introduction.
  4. Develop themes and characters in the second third, the development of the work.
  5. Complete topics, reveal secrets and more in the final third, denouement.
  6. Whenever possible, accompany the acquaintance with the heroes and their philosophizing with various actions. This helps to maintain the dramatic tension.
  7. Carrot and Stick: Heroes must be pursued (by obsession or villain) and pursued (ideas, objects, personalities, secrets).

Henry Miller

American writer of the 20th century. He became famous for such scandalous works for his time as the Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and Black Spring.

  1. Work on one thing until you're done.
  2. Do not be nervous. Work calmly and with joy, no matter what you do.
  3. Act according to plan, not mood. Stop at the appointed time.
  4. When you cannot create, work.
  5. Cement a little every day instead of adding new fertilizer.
  6. Stay human! Meet people, visit different places, have a drink if you like.
  7. Don't turn into a draft horse! Only work with pleasure.
  8. Depart from the plan if you need to, but come back to it the next day. Focus. Concretize. Eliminate.
  9. Forget about the books you want to write. Think only of the one you write.
  10. Write fast and always. Drawing, music, friends, movies, all this after work.

Neil Gaiman

One of the most famous science fiction writers of our time. From under his pen came such works as American Gods and Stardust. However, not only them were filmed.

  1. Write.
  2. Add word by word. Find the right word, write it down.
  3. Finish what you are writing. Whatever the cost, follow through on what you started.
  4. Put your notes aside. Read them as if you are doing it for the first time. Show your work to friends who love something similar and whose opinion you respect.
  5. Remember, when people say something is wrong or not working, they are almost always right. When they explain what exactly is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
  6. Correct the mistakes. Remember, you have to let go of the job before it's perfect and start the next one. The pursuit of excellence is the pursuit of the horizon. Move on.
  7. Laugh at your jokes.
  8. The main rule of writing is: If you create with sufficient confidence in yourself, you can do anything. It can also be the rule of all life. But it works best for writing.

Anton Chekhov

A master of short prose and a classic of Russian literature who hardly needs an introduction.

  1. It is assumed that the writer, in addition to ordinary mental abilities, must have experience behind him. The highest fee is received by people who have gone through fire, water and copper pipes, the lowest one, natures are intact and unspoiled.
  2. Becoming a writer is not difficult. There is no freak who would not find a match for himself, and there is no nonsense that would not find a suitable reader. And therefore, do not be shy ... Put the paper in front of you, take the pen in your hands and, irritating the captive thought, scribble.
  3. It is very difficult to become a writer who is published and read. For this: be absolutely literate and have a talent the size of at least a grain of lentils. In the absence of great talents, roads and small ones.
  4. If you want to write, then do so. Pick a topic first. Here you are given complete freedom. You can use arbitrariness and even arbitrariness. But, in order not to open America for the second time and not to invent gunpowder again, avoid those that have long been worn out.
  5. Letting your imagination run wild, hold your hand. Don't let her chase the number of lines. The shorter and less often you write, the more and more often you are published. Brevity doesn't spoil matters at all. A stretched elastic erases a pencil no better than an unstretched one.

Zadie Smith

Contemporary British writer, bestselling author of White Teeth, Autograph Collector, and On Beauty.

  1. If you're a kid, make sure you read a lot. Spend more time on this than on anything else.
  2. If you're an adult, try to read your work like a stranger would. Or better yet, how your enemy would read them.
  3. Don't elevate your calling. You can either write good sentences or you can not. There is no way of life as a writer. What matters is what you leave on the page.
  4. Take substantial breaks between writing and editing.
  5. Write on a computer that is not connected to the Internet.
  6. Protect your work time and space. Even from the people most important to you.
  7. Don't confuse honor and achievement.