"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Monday, March 17, 2008

Writing Advice That Has Gone Out of Date

"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." --Mark Twain.

Nobody deletes "damn" anymore. I suppose you'd have to use "fucking" now, to have a chance of getting it deleted, and even then.

Writing Advice That Has Not Gone Out of Date

"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no one knows what they are." --W. Somerset Maugham.

This could be taken for a rule:

"The trick is to begin suddenly, like plunging into an icy sea and bearing its intense coldness with suicidal courage." Clarice Lispector

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