Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Writers Should Write - Not Talk?

Previously, we posted that Vladimir Nabokov shared in the foreword to Strong Opinions: "I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child." Thus, Nabokov considered himself a good writer but a poor speaker. So much so, that his lectures and interviews were pre-written. Nabokov related:
"Throughout my academic ascent in America from lean lecturer to Full Professor, I have never delivered to my audience one scrap of information not prepared in typescript beforehand and not held under my eyes on the bright-lit lectern."

"The interviewer's questions have to be sent to me in writing, answered by me in writing, and reproduced verbatim. Such are the three absolute conditions."
And Becca Rothfeld posted on Gawker that "WRITERS SHOULDN'T TALK: Stop encouraging them", because writers are "isolated" "amenders" whom delete "[...] unsatisfactory variants of a single sentence for upwards of an hour". 

For one thing, authors are often poor orators, inept at the most basic mechanics of verbalization. They hum and halt and hesitate, interrupting themselves, appending caveats to their caveats, thrumming a chorus of tentative “ums.” They are drafters and amenders, if not by vocation than by profession, and in conversation, their strongest pronouncements tend to be timid, as if they were editing in real time.

Who in their right mind would want to talk, much less listen, to a person who has contrived to spend as much of her life as possible crouched over her computer in isolation, deleting unsatisfactory variants of a single sentence for upwards of an hour?


Therefore, how can writers be expected to speak well when they're used to carefully crafting their sentences? Although, there are some exceptions (e.g., Rothfeld posted a link to an exceptional conversation that David Foster Wallace had with Charli Rose), in the end, it may be best to follow Rothfeld's advice:

Most writers are not talkers for a reason. Stop encouraging them to humiliate themselves in conversation so that they can return to the impossibly difficult business of perfecting themselves in print.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Why Your Writing Sucks

If you're confused about why, in your very own words, your writing "sucks", then Kim Addonizio, the poet and novelist, may have the answer. Addonizio reportedly said:

Maybe you’re one of those people who writes poems [and novels], but rarely reads them. Let me put this as delicately as I can: If you don’t read, your writing is going to suck.

Thus, to improve your writing you may want to avoid writers' workshops but read a lot of well written books, and write a lot. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Read Like a Writer

Samuel Johnson reportedly said:

"The greatest part of a writer's time is spent reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book."

But addition to reading prolifically, a writer should note the literary techniques used in the books he or she reads. Like Sarah Waters advised: 

"Read like mad. But try to do it analytically [too]"

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Stassi Schroeder: Double-Fake NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller?


Kelly Conaboy asked on Gawker "Did Stassi Schroeder Buy Her Way Onto the 'New York Times' Bestseller List?" (May 9, 2022)


Schroeder's lasted book, Off With My Head, has a dagger (†) next to it on the New York Times Bestseller list. 

# 8 Off With My Head w\ (†)

Schroeder's previous book, Next Level Basic, had a dagger (†) next to it on the New York Times Bestseller list. 

# 3 Next Level Basic w\ (†)

And what does the dagger (†) mean? Per Erin Bartnett's "Are Conservative Titles Using Shady Tricks to Get Onto the Bestseller List?" (May 25, 2018), the dagger 
(†) indicates:

"[...] that a book cracked the top sellers thanks to bulk orders. In other words, people are buying several dozen or more books at a time."

Of all people, the New York Times reported that the: 

"R.N.C. Spent Nearly $100,000 on Copies of Donald Trump Jr.’s Book: “Triggered,” published Nov. 5, topped the best-seller list thanks in part to a big order from the Republican National Committee."

Schroeder "Reacts" to, "You're a New York Times Bestseller!"

Did Schroeder have someone like Donald Trump Jr buy her onto the Bestseller list? Is Schroeder a double-fake New York Times Bestseller? #rhetoricalquestion

Wait, have you even heard of Stassi Schroeder? If not, she's a (former) Vanderpump Rules (reality tv) star who was fired for racist actions

It appears that Schroeder and Don Jr have a lot in common. 

Monday, April 18, 2022

"I" or "Me"?

Some grammarians prefer to teach this topic based on subjects versus objects, but I prefer to use verbs when determining when to use "I' or "Me".

For example, if the verb comes first in the sentence use "Me". (e.g., "The chef made delectable burgers for Noor and me.")

Otherwise, use "I". (e.g., "Noor and I are going to the Fanelli’s in SoHo for burgers."

Monday, April 11, 2022

How a Writer Deals with Criticism

Especially on social media, but even in an Amazon review, there will be readers who, often unfairly, criticize your writing. 

For example, Joseph Mutizwa gave me a one-star review for The Allure of Nymphets because, as he wrote, my book was "Not quite what I expected." Really?

But John Lescroart, the New York Times bestselling author, has given us some advice on how to deal with (unfair) criticism. Lescroart shared with Advice to Writers that a writer should continue to have faith, continue to improve, and continue to produce:

There will always be people who criticize your work, but if you continue to believe, improve and produce, you will win out in the end [إن شاء الله]. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Want to be a Writer? Write!

 Image Source

(Most) [p]roblems in life have easy solutions. And per Shonda Rhimes, that even includes the problem of how to become a writer. Rhimes reportedly said, 

You want to be a writer? A writer is someone who writes every day — so start writing.

Hence, per Rhimes, the solution to becoming a writer is to simply write - every day.Write

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Courageous Creative


One reason some budding authors never fully bud is because they expect their writing to be polished upon the first keystroke. 

However, as Kevin Ashton, the author of the Amazon Editors' Pick How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery, related, it takes a number of revisions, erasures and rearrangements before writing can shine.
Nothing begins good, but everything good begins. Everything can be revised, erased, or rearranged later. The courage of creation is making bad beginnings.

But as Terry Pratchett advised, DON'T start doing any editing until AFTER your brain dump (i.e., first draft.)

Sunday, March 20, 2022

A Writer's Nourishment

We've related, a number of times, that it's impossible to create (i.e., write) out of thin air. For example, we shared that Sylvia Plath reportedly related:

Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. 

And Anaïs Nin reportedly equated an inspired writer to a nourished writer whom can find nourishment in day-to-day occurrences such as in "a talk on the street":

The final lesson a writer learns is that everything can nourish the writer. The dictionary, a new word, a voyage, an encounter, a talk on the street, a book, a phrase learned. 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

A Writer's Self-Love


Writers, in fact anyone, should avoid creating art to please others. Instead, write about (altruist) content that you find engaging, which may inspire others. And in the process, you'll avoid ennui and depression, but you'll gain self-control.

Patricia Highsmith, the author of The Talented Mr. Ripley, reportedly advised:
The first person you should think of pleasing, in writing a book, is yourself. If you can amuse yourself for the length of time it takes to write a book, the publishers and the readers can and will come later.