Kurt Vonnegut

Good Advice Can’t Be Bad – One Author To Another

As writers, we are constantly looking around us for inspiration. For me, one of the best places to find encouragement, is from other writers. Author quotes, interviews, and advice are always there for me when I need them.

Recently, I read a really great article on the Huffington Post website about a book called “Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do” – where bestselling authors share advice and tips about their success. The Huffington Post shared an excerpt by Jodi Picoult (most famous for “My Sister’s Keeper).

Here is a little taste of her wisdom:

A lot of writers think of the publishing contract as the Holy Grail, but it’s not. It’s a huge mistake to think that just because your book is being printed, your publisher will publicize it. If you’re a new author, it’s much more likely that they won’t. You have to stump yourself and find book clubs to talk to and go to book fairs and set up signings at bookstores and libraries—anything to get word of mouth going. Your publisher’s more likely to pay attention to your book if it starts magically selling. Then they might put some money into promoting it. It’s a vicious cycle.

  • Take a writing course. It’s how you’ll learn to get and give feedback, and it’ll teach you to write on demand.
  • There’s no magic bullet that’ll make you a success. If you write because you want to be rich, you’re in the wrong business. Write because you can’t not write, or don’t write at all.
  • Write even when you don’t feel like writing. There is no muse. It’s hard work. You can always edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page.
  • Read. It’ll inspire you to write as well as the authors who came before you.
  • To read the full article, click HERE.

    Another great article shares some tips from Kurt Vonnegut, from his book “Bagombo Snuff Box”:

  • Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  • Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  • 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.*
  • Start as close to the end as possible.
  • Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  • Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  • Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
  • To read the full article, click HERE.

    If you’re having writer’s block, losing faith in yourself, or feeling like the only writer out there, just take a look around and you’ll see all the amazing writer’s who are there, ready and willing, to help you along your way. There are lots of great books your can read, such as the one mentioned above in the Huffington article, Stephen King’s “On Writing” (is hugely popular), “Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity” by Ray Bradbury, and many more. And finally, here are a few great quotes, to help you feel inspired and keep you from losing your mind:

    Jeffrey EugenidesStephen KingCharles de Lint

    Anais NinToni MorrisonJ. K. Rowling

    Hold on to your Vonegut! Banning Books is “IN” This Year.

    banned books

    When the Huffington Post put together a list of books banned in America, it got me thinking (and laughing) at the irony of things. We live in a country where kids obsess over Jersey Shore and Teen Mom. They’d rather keep up with the Kardashians than hang out at the library. Let’s be honest, not all kids are avid readers. We love it when they are (truly we do), but the dreaded boob tube gets more action than Cliff’s Notes these days and frankly, it’s a bit depressing. So when word got out that Kurt Vonnegut’s literary classic Slaughterhouse Five had been banned at a high school in Missouri, we had to scratch our heads. Why? Wesley Scroggins, a professor at Missouri State University, spearheaded the book ban when he wrote a column for a local paper last year. The reason behind the ban? Two words: “Profane language”. Perhaps he hasn’t listened to the enriched vocabulary of a high school student lately.

    In school, history teachers tell tales of woe surrounding infringement of freedom and continually point out how far we’ve come and how much farther we need to go. The hypocrisy of preaching freedom while banning books is laughable. When books are banned in our high schools, aren’t we taking a giant step backwards? The same school that banned Slaughterhouse Five also banned Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. The material was said to be “sensationalizing sexual promiscuity” and “shocking”. Perhaps the folks in charge should tune into Gossip Girl on the CW, as I feel their perception of teens and sexuality might be a bit dated since Anne of Green Gables wrapped in 1985. And while we’re on the topic of bans, what about ‘Norwegian Wood’ by Murakami? Not only were millions of copies sold but it also received rave reviews from the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Unfortunately that didn’t mean anything to the Monroe Township School District in New Jersey, as they removed it from their 10th grade reading list this year due to a “graphic… lesbian sex scene”.  What are the chances that this whole book banning fever is an elaborate reverse psychology scheme? Yea, we didn’t think so either. Shame – they could’ve been onto something!

    The act of banning a book, especially the ones listed above, rubs us (and many others) the wrong way. But you don’t have to take it sitting down! Banned Books Week celebrates freedom and artistic expression. Show your support with readers from all over the country as they celebrate Banned Books Week 2011 from September 24th – October 1st. Let’s show those high school kids what it’s like to fight for something you believe in.


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