Culture Street

Books

Tuesday Tips from John Steinbeck

On November 19, 2013

Penning a novel? Following is a list of fabulous writing tips from author John Steinbeck taken from an article originally published in the Paris Review.

1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.

3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theatre, it doesn't exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn't belong there.

5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.

6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

In 1963, immediately after receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature, Steinbeck made this comment on offering writing advice.

 
"If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that makes a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story."
 

You Might Also Like

Books

Author Fleur McDonald on the contrast between London and Danjar Plains

Fleur lives with her husband and two children on a station near Esperance in Western Australia, where she is very involved in the daily management of their 8000 acres. She...

On April 10, 2013

Books

Jojo Moyes to pen a third Lou Clarke book

Jojo Moyes is writing a third book about Lou Clarke. Me Before You, the first Lou Clarke novel, has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide. The weepy film based...

On March 21, 2017

Books

Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver

By Sophia Whitfield

On May 18, 2015
 

Books

Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

John Green, New York Times bestselling author has written a heartfelt novel about the importance of living life despite the shadow of death.

On January 14, 2013

Books

Top Twelve Must-Reads of June

[caption id="attachment_8332" align="alignright" width="216"] Dancing on Knives by Kate Forsyth

On June 2, 2014

Books

In the Blood by Lisa Unger

By Sophia Whitfield

On January 13, 2014
 
Copyright © 2012 - 2018 Culture Street
Contact: info@culturestreet.com.au