Tag Archives: Ray Bradbury

One hundred and fifty ‘rules’ for writing fiction: 141 – 144

Books

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

A few more provocations on the writing life…

141).  A writer, like an athlete, must ‘train’ every day. What did I do today to keep in ‘form’?
  (Susan Sontag)

142).  If you’re actually allowing your creative part to control your writing rather than a more commercial instinct or motive, then you’ll find that all sorts of interesting things will bubble up to the surface.  (Emma Thompson)

143).  You will have to write and put away or burn a lot of material before you are comfortable in this medium. You might as well start now and get the necessary work done. For I believe that eventually quantity will make for quality. How so? Quantity gives experience. From experience alone can quality come. All arts, big and small, are the elimination of waste motion in favor of the concise declaration. The artist learns what to leave out. His greatest art will often be what he does not say, what he leaves out, his ability to state simply with clear emotion, the way he wants to go. The artist must work so hard, so long, that a brain develops and lives, all of itself, in his fingers.  (Ray Bradbury)

144).  Write for tomorrow, not for today.  (Andrew Motion)

One hundred and fifty ‘rules’ for writing fiction: 133 -136.

Books

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

A few more thoughts about writing by those who have written and published spectacularly…

133).  The solution to a problem — a story that you are unable to finish — is the problem. It isn’t as if the problem is one thing and the solution something else. The problem, properly understood = the solution. Instead of trying to hide or efface what limits the story, capitalize on that very limitation. State it, rail against it. 
 (Susan Sontag. Diary notes. 7/31/73)

134)   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)

135)   Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.  (William Wordsworth)

136).  The time we have alone, the time we have in walking, the time we have in riding a bicycle, is the most important time for a writer. Escaping from the typewriter is part of the creative process. You have to give the subconscious time to think. Real thinking always happens at the subconscious level.  (Ray Bradbury)

One hundred and fifty ‘rules’ for writing fiction: 115 – 119

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

More quotations on writing collected from interviews and festival interviews over the years…

115)  Writing is finally a series of permissions you give yourself to be expressive in certain ways. To invent. To leap. To fly. To fall. To be strict without being too self-excoriating. Not stopping too often to think it’s going well (or not too badly), simply to keep rowing along.  (Susan Sontag)

116)  Write a book you’d like to read. If you wouldn’t read it, why would anybody else? Don’t write for a perceived audience or market. It may well have vanished by the time your book’s ready.  (Hilary Mantel)

117)   Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.  (Ray Bradbury)

118)   Never fear [the audience] or despise it. Coax it, charm it, interest it, stimulate it, shock it now and then if you must, make it laugh, make it cry, but above all . . . never, never, never bore the hell out of it.  (Noel Coward)

119)  The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.  (William Saroyan)

One hundred and fifty ‘rules’ for writing fiction: 111 – 114

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

More thoughts from those who have done it on how to do it….

111.)  A short story must have single mood and every sentence must build towards it.  (Edgar Allan Poe).

112). Do change your mind. Good ideas are often murdered by better ones. I was working on a novel about a band called the Partitions. Then I decided to call them the Commitments. (Roddy Doyle).

113). For one thousand nights, before you sleep: Read one short story a night. Read one poem a night. Read one essay a night, from very diverse fields: politics, philosophy, religion, biology, anthropology, psychology, and so on. At the end of the one-thousand nights you’ll be full of stuff! All this stuff will be bouncing around in your head, and you’ll be able to come up with lots of new ideas. (Ray Bradbury).

114). Never worry about the commercial possibilities of a project. That stuff is for agents and editors to fret over – or not. Conversation with my American publisher. Me: “I’m writing a book so boring, of such limited commercial appeal, that if you publish it, it will probably cost you your job.” Publisher: “That’s exactly what makes me want to stay in my job.” (Geoff Dyer).

One hundred ‘rules’ for writing fiction: 92-96.

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Further thoughts from the great and good on writing, gleaned from interviews, articles and festivals:

92.  You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance. (Ray Bradbury).

93.  Woolf was right. Make sure you’ve got a room –or even a house – of your own, so that you can work away when necessary. House-sit, pet-sit, plant-sir, go on retreat, residency, writing course – or just make sure your family, friends and neighbours respect your closed door. (Helen Simpson).

94.   Writing fiction is not “self-­expression” or “therapy”. Novels are for readers, and writing them means the crafty, patient, selfless construction of effects. I think of my novels as being something like fairground rides: my job is to strap the reader into their car at the start of chapter one, then trundle and whizz them through scenes and surprises, on a carefully planned route, and at a finely engineered pace.  (Sarah Waters).

95.   Have humility. Older/more ­experienced/more convincing writers may offer rules and varieties of advice. ­Consider what they say. However, don’t automatically give them charge of your brain, or anything else – they might be bitter, twisted, burned-out, manipulative, or just not very like you. (AL Kennedy)

96.   Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward. (Jeanette Winterson).

One hundred ‘rules’ for writing fiction: 87-91.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Five more pieces of advice collected from interviews with writers of fiction.

87.  A writer’s past is the most important thing he has. Sometimes an object, a mask, a ticket stub, anything at all, helps me remember a whole experience, and out of that may come an idea for a story. (Ray Bradbury).

88. Never ride a bike with the brakes on. If something is proving too difficult, give up and do something else. Try to live without resort to per­severance. But writing is all about ­perseverance. You’ve got to stick at it. In my 30s I used to go to the gym even though I hated it. The purpose of ­going to the gym was to postpone the day when I would stop going. That’s what writing is to me: a way of ­postponing the day when I won’t do it any more, the day when I will sink into a depression so profound it will be indistinguishable from perfect bliss. (Geoff Dyer).

89.  Do spend a few minutes a day working on the cover biog – “He divides his time between Kabul and Tierra del Fuego.” But then get back to work. (Roddy Doyle).

90.  Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell. (P.D. James).

91. Write. No amount of self-inflicted misery, altered states, black pullovers or being publicly obnoxious will ever add up to your being a writer. Writers write. On you go. (A.L. Kennedy).