The first is to ignore anybody who says there’s a hard and fast rule that you should always follow. As soon as you try to say that, up pops something to prove you’re an idiot. I should know because I’ve tried to get away with blurting out a hard and fast rule over and over and over. It never worked. So the title to this post is a Bronx cheer to everyone who tells me I should never end a sentence with a preposition. There. I said it. You’re welcome.
Now that I’ve unencumbered myself of that weight, I’ve found a nice little treasure trove of quotes from people who know what they’re talking about. They know this because, like me, they’ve tried something over and over and over again until they finally figured it out and became successful. Having only been successful with figuring out one rule, I figured I’d let all these other people do the rest of the tips for me.
This is a nice little collection by Cody Delistraty on Thought Catalog, and it’s been a few years since it was compiled but the truths within are timeless. They aren’t all really tips, exactly, but they’re nuggets of wisdom to help you build a framework for your concept of what your writing is all about. And they’re not hard and fast, either. But you can sure use some pondering on each of them.
21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors
By Cody Delistraty, September 24th 2013
A lot of people think they can write or paint or draw or sing or make movies or what-have-you, but having an artistic temperament doth not make one an artist.
Even the great writers of our time have tried and failed and failed some more. Vladimir Nabokov received a harsh rejection letter from Knopf upon submitting Lolita, which would later go on to sell fifty million copies. Sylvia Plath’s first rejection letter for The Bell Jar read, “There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.” Gertrude Stein received a cruel rejection letter that mocked her style. Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way earned him a sprawling rejection letter regarding the reasons he should simply give up writing all together. Tim Burton’s first illustrated book, The Giant Zlig, got the thumbs down from Walt Disney Productions, and even Jack Kerouac’s perennial On the Road received a particularly blunt rejection letter that simply read, “I don’t dig this one at all.”
So even if you’re an utterly fantastic writer who will be remembered for decades forthcoming, you’ll still most likely receive a large dollop of criticism, rejection, and perhaps even mockery before you get there. Having been through it all these great writers offer some writing tips without pulling punches. After all, if a publishing house is going to tear into your manuscript you might as well be prepared.