Literary Birthday - 25 May - Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver was born 25 May 1938, and died 2 August 1988

Raymond Carver: 10 Remarkable Writing Quotes

  1. It’s possible, in a poem or short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language, and to endow those things—a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman’s earring—with immense, even startling power.
  2. I write the first draft quickly. This is most often done in longhand. I simply fill up the pages as rapidly as I can. …With the first draft it’s a question of getting down the outline, the scaffolding of the story. Then on subsequent revisions I’ll see to the rest of it. When I’ve finished the longhand draft I’ll type a version of the story and go from there. It always looks different to me, better, of course, after it’s typed up. When I’m typing the first draft, I’ll begin to rewrite and add and delete a little then. The real work comes later, after I’ve done three or four drafts of the story. 
  3. I think a little menace is fine to have in a story. For one thing, it’s good for the circulation.
  4. It’s akin to style, what I’m talking about, but it isn’t style alone. It is the writer’s particular and unmistakable signature on everything he writes. It is his world and no other. This is one of the things that distinguishes one writer from another. Not talent. There’s plenty of that around. But a writer who has some special way of looking at things and who gives artistic expression to that way of looking: that writer may be around for a time.
  5. That’s all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones, with the punctuation in the right places so that they can best say what they are meant to say. If the words are heavy with the writer’s own unbridled emotions, or if they are imprecise and inaccurate for some other reason — if the words are in any way blurred — the reader’s eyes will slide right over them and nothing will be achieved.
  6. I never wrote so much as a line worth a nickel when I was under the influence of alcohol.
  7. You’re told time and again when you’re young to write about what you know, and what do you know better than your own secrets? But unless you’re a special kind of writer, and a very talented one, it’s dangerous to try and write volume after volume on The Story of My Life.
  8. I’m always learning something. Learning never ends.
  9. Anyone can express himself, or herself, but what writers and poets want to do in their work, more than simply express themselves, is communicate, yes?
  10. When I’m writing, I write every day. It’s lovely when that’s happening. One day dovetailing into the next. Sometimes I don’t even know what day of the week it is…I put in a lot of hours at the desk, ten or twelve or fifteen hours at a stretch, day after day.

Carver was an American short story writer and poet. As a young man, he studied  creative writing. After being hospitalized with acute alcoholism in his late thirties, the stories Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? were published. Carver stopped drinking and The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters awarded him a fellowship to write full-time. He was considered a major writer of the late 20th century and a major force in the revitalization of the American short story literature in the 1980s.  

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Literary Birthday - 31 December - Nicholas Sparks

Happy Birthday, Nicholas Sparks, born 31 December 1965

On Writing - 10 Quotes

  1. By reading a lot of novels in a variety of genres, and asking questions, it’s possible to learn how things are done—the mechanics of writing, so to speak—and which genres and authors excel in various areas.
  2. Read a variety of books on the craft of writing. On Writing by Stephen King, The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White, Creating Fiction edited by Julie Checkoway, and A Dangerous Profession by Frederick Busch, are but a few that I would recommend.  
  3. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write, it’s just that simple. I wrote two complete novels and another book before I even attempted to write The Notebook. Those two novels are unpublished, but they taught me that I not only liked to write, but that I had it in me to finish a novel once I’d started it. 
  4. I write five or six days a week, usually a minimum of 2000 words, sometimes more. 2000 words can take anywhere from three to eight hours.
  5. All people who regard writing as a profession write consistently. Those who regard it as a hobby usually don’t.
  6. I do not use profanity in my novels. My characters all go to church. 
  7. Publishing is a business. Writing may be art, but publishing, when all is said and done, comes down to dollars.
  8. Above all, a query letter is a sales pitch and it is the single most important page an unpublished writer will ever write. It’s the first impression and will either open the door or close it. It’s that important, so don’t mess it up. Mine took 17 drafts and two weeks to write. 
  9. I’m always trying to improve, to try new things, to write a new story that is better than anything else I’ve written.
  10. Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period. 

Nicholas Sparks is a best-selling American novelist and screenwriter. He has 17 published novels. Seven have been adapted to films, including Message in a Bottle, A Walk to RememberThe NotebookNights in RodantheDear JohnThe Last Song, and most recently The Lucky One. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with nearly 80 million copies in print worldwide, in over 45 languages.

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 by Amanda Patterson

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate