Literary Birthday - 25 August - Martin Amis

Happy Birthday, Martin Amis, born 25 August 1949

Five Quotes

  1. Seeing the world anew, as if it were new, is as old as writing. It’s what all painters are trying to do, to see what’s there, to see it in a way that renews it. It becomes more and more urgent as the planet gets worn flat and forest after forest is slain to print the paper for people’s impressions to be scrawled down on. It becomes harder and harder to be original, to see things with an innocent eye. Innocence is much tied up with it. As the planet gets progressively less innocent, you need a more innocent eye to see it.
  2. Fiction is the only way to redeem the formlessness of life.
  3. The trouble with life … Look at it: thinly plotted, largely themeless, sentimental and ineluctably trite. The dialogue is poor, or at least violently uneven. The twists are either predictable or sensationalist. And it’s always the same beginning; and the same ending.
  4. All novelists write in a different way, but I always write in longhand and then do two versions of typescript on a computer.
  5. The literary interview won’t tell you what a writer is like. Far more compellingly to some, it will tell you what a writer is like to interview.

Martin Amis: On Writing - 16 Pieces of Advice

Amis is a British novelist, best-known for the novels novels Money and London Fields. He has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his memoirExperience and has been listed for the Booker Prize twice.

Source for Image

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Martin Amis: On Writing

Martin Amisrsquos advice to Writers Write in long-hand when you scratch out a word it still exists there on the page On the computer when you delete a word it disappears forever This is important because usually your first instinct is the right one Minimum number of words to write every day no ldquoquotardquo Sometimes it will be no words Sometimes it will be 1500 Use any anxiety you have about your writing mdash or your life mdash as fuel ldquoAmbition and anxiety thatrsquos the writerrsquos life8221 Never say lsquosci-firsquo Yoursquoll enrage purists Call it SF Donrsquot dumb down always write for your top five percent of readers Never pun your titlenbsp simpler is usually better ldquoLolita turns out to be a great title couldnrsquot be simpler8221 At Manchester University where he teaches creative writing my rule is I donrsquot look at their work We read great books and we talk about them hellip We look at Conrad Dostoyevsky When is an idea is worth pursuing in novel-form ldquoItrsquos got to give you a kind of glimmer Watch out for words that repeat too often Donrsquot start a paragraph with the same word as previous one That goes doubly for sentences Stay in the tense Inspect your lsquohadsrsquo and see if you really need them Never use lsquoamongstrsquo lsquoAmongrsquo Never use lsquowhilstrsquo Anyone who uses lsquowhilstrsquo is subliterate Try not to write sentences that absolutely anyone could write You write the book you want to read Thatrsquos my rule You have to have a huge appetite for solitude From The Literary Tourist Image The Guardian

  1. Write in long-hand: when you scratch out a word, it still exists there on the page. On the computer, when you delete a word it disappears forever. This is important because usually your first instinct is the right one.
  2. Minimum number of words to write every day: no “quota”: Sometimes it will be no words. Sometimes it will be 1500.
  3. Use any anxiety you have about your writing — or your life — as fuel: “Ambition and anxiety: that’s the writer’s life”
  4. Never say ‘sci-fi.’ You’ll enrage purists. Call it SF.
  5. Don’t dumb down: always write for your top five per cent of readers.
  6. Never pun your title, simpler is usually better: “Lolita turns out to be a great title; couldn’t be simpler.”
  7. At Manchester (University, where he teaches creative writing) my rule is I don’t look at their work. We read great books, and we talk about them … We look at Conrad, Dostoyevsky.
  8. When is an idea is worth pursuing in novel-form? “It’s got to give you a kind of glimmer"
  9. Watch out for words that repeat too often.
  10. Don’t start a paragraph with the same word as previous one. That goes doubly for sentences.
  11. Stay in the tense.
  12. Inspect your ‘hads’ and see if you really need them.
  13. Never use ‘amongst.’Never use ‘whilst.’ Anyone who uses ‘whilst’ is subliterate.
  14. Try not to write sentences that absolutely anyone could write.
  15. You write the book you want to read. That’s my rule.
  16. You have to have a huge appetite for solitude.

From The Literary Tourist

Image The Guardian

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