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Writers Write creates and shares writing resources. In this post, we share 27 gems on writing from Ernest Hemingway.

Ernest Hemingway was an American author and journalist whose economical style strongly influenced 20th-century fiction. He was born 21 July 1899, and died 2 July 1961.

Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. His works include The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell To Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man And The Sea. Please follow this link to see where Ernest Hemingway slept.

These 27 tips, suggestions, and ideas are from Ernest Hemingway on Writing, a selection of material from Hemingway’s articles, interviews, letters and books. They are taken from the article ’27 Secrets To Write Like Hemingway’ by Joanna Paterson.

27 Gems On Writing From Ernest Hemingway
  1. Start with the simplest things.
  2. Boil it down.
  3. Know what to leave out.
  4. Write the tip of the ice-berg, leave the rest under the water.
  5. Watch what happens today.
  6. Write what you see.
  7. Listen completely.
  8. Write when there is something you know, and not before.
  9. Look at words as if seeing them for the first time.
  10. Use the most conventional punctuation you can.
  11. Ditch the dictionary.
  12. Distrust adjectives.
  13. Learn to write a simple declarative sentence.
  14. Tell a story in six words.
  15. Write poetry into prose.
  16. Read everything so you know what you need to beat.
  17. Don’t try to beat Shakespeare.
  18. Accept that writing is something you can never do as well as it can be done.
  19. Go fishing in summer.
  20. Don’t drink when you’re writing.
  21. Finish what you start.
  22. Don’t worry. You’ve written before and you will write again.
  23. Forget posterity. Think only of writing truly.
  24. Write as well as you can with no eye on the market.
  25. Write clearly – and people will know if you are being true.
  26. Just write the truest sentence that you know.
  27. Remember that nobody really knows or understands the secret.

Recommended reads:

  1. Between Friends: Writing Advice From Hemingway To Fitzgerald
  2. How Ernest Hemingway Changed The Writing Landscape

Source for Image  / Source for gems

 by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this, you will love:

  1. Anne Lamott On Life And Writing
  2. 6 Writing Tips From Bernard Cornwell
  3. Richard Ford’s 10 Rules For Writing Fiction
  4. Joy Williams’ 8 Essential Attributes Of The Short Story
  5. Writing Advice From The World’s Most Famous Authors

The post 27 Gems On Writing From Ernest Hemingway appeared first on Writers Write.

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Writers Write is a writing resource. In this guest post, we have shared an infographic that includes lessons from female literary characters.

GUEST POST

We never stop learning if we never stop reading. Literature can serve a great purpose in life, more than we realise. Set aside time to read some of the remarkable tales of women in literature, you’ll be astonished at some of the epiphanies you will takeaway to incorporate into your life. Redbubble.com has created an overview to lessons we learned from female literary characters, and we’ve included the beautiful full guide below. 

Starting back in 1623 with Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice is an intelligent, outspoken, and confident female. She teaches us to refuse any man that does not recognise our talents and that fearless is timeless.

Then jumping to 1908, Anne from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables teaches the important message of never to hide your brilliance and believe in hope. Anne is incredibly hilarious and imaginative, and there is no way she will conceal that in any shape or size.

Look at these kickass female characters and the important lessons they have to teach us.

by Tia Philippart. Tia is a junior content marketing specialist, Siege Media. She loves to discover new places and find hidden meanings in literature. Her favourite way to learn is from reading.

The post Lessons Female Literary Characters Have Taught Us appeared first on Writers Write.

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Have you ever wondered how famous authors thought up their best-selling books? In this post, our author writes definitively about where famous authors got their ideas.

According to Stephen King, “50%! No more. No less!” is the percentage of ideas that he can point at and say, “I know where that one came from.”

This seems about right, right?

I am sure I can pinpoint about half of my ideas. Most of them happen in the shower. So, if anything, it shows us that the idea gods like me to be clean. Or, perhaps that they should get out the bathroom when I’m trying to wash my hair!

Regardless, where do famous authors say they got the ideas for their best-selling books?

In this post, I found out where these famous authors got their ideas: Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, Suzanne Collins, Khaled Hosseini, Douglas Adams, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, and P.G. Wodehouse.

Where 9 Famous Authors Got Their Ideas Stephen King

Stephen King believes in the muses. Those lovely ladies who hang around poets, artists and writers giving them all their best ideas.

Except King’s muse is a middle-aged man – a slob who lives in his basement. His muse sleeps late and doesn’t like to be disturbed. But, he’s well worth having around.

You see every now and then Mr Muse will surface from his stupor, stub out his cigar, hand-rolled, and burst into King’s office. Throw down a great idea then bugger off without so much as a “farewell”.

But, King says he’s worth his substantial weight in gold. And, you just have to learn to listen to him and pray he never goes away.

Neil Gaiman

On stage, a middle-aged Australian man, probably not his or King’s muse, asked:

“Where do you get your ideas from?”

“Ah”, said Gaiman, “You have done the thing that all authors hate. And, we hate it for two reasons. One because we get asked this every day, and two, we are scared the ideas will stop if we tell someone else.”

Okay, that’s not a direct quote you can watch it here if you want.

What he does say, apart from getting them from an “Idea-of-the-month club”, is useful. He tells us, authors, like everybody, have good ideas. What makes authors different is that they often remember these ideas long enough to recognise that they are good ideas. Then, hopefully, they write them down.

In another interview speaking with his friend and co-author, Terry Pratchett they talk about how ideas float from head to head. Pratchett says some people are like sieves. An idea can pass through these people without them ever noticing. But, some people’s brains bang into every idea they come across.

But, if you don’t use them, they will find another place to live.

Pratchett and Gaiman say that sometimes they will have an idea for a book then forget about it and suddenly a few years later, “The Book Thief” or something comes out. And they think, “Oh, I remember writing that. Only I didn’t, did I?”

Of course, it was actually Markus Zusak who wrote The Book Thief

Roald Dahl

Ideas can, of course, be stored. They, like spells, must be bound to a page.

Roald Dahl kept an ideas book from an early age. He would just jot down an idea as it struck him.

This is a normal thing to do, but I think most people just forget about them. Dahl had written in one of his school exercise books about a Big Friendly Giant and then, at the age of 66, he actually wrote the book.

There is no indication of where he got the idea from, probably in the shower, but it almost seems that ideas are alive. They seek out a mind they like. If they like that mind enough they put down roots and germinate in your notebooks for decades until the idea is ready to be harvested.

I wonder if he had another note in his book that said, “Sky Rhino destroys house, boy, John James, escapes in peach Giant Peach.”

TV Ideas

Other authors get their ideas from more normal places.

Suzanne Collins and Khaled Hosseini both got their ideas from vegetating in front of a TV. Although, I still think Collins pinched the idea from Battle Royale, which is about children fighting to the death in a contest organised by the government.

Either way, she got it from a TV show.

Hosseini was watching a documentary about the Taliban that banned kite flying. So, he wrote a short story that would later become The Kite Runner.

Collins claims she was switching between a kids’ show and the news late at night. These two blurred in her mind and she thought of the idea for The Hunger Games. Whether that show was Battle Royale or not she has never said.

Neither mentioned a shower or middle-aged smoker living in their basement.

Getting Stuck In Places

Douglas Adams was unable to meet deadlines. So, according to his editor, it was often necessary to lock him in a room and force him to write.

This produced some of the strangest and fastest paced books of all time. Luckily, YouTube did not exist when Adams was writing or we would have lost him to it. How many good books would never have been written because of social media distractions?

If you enjoy Harry Potter you should thank the poor state of British public transportation.

On her way home, stuck for four hours on a “delayed” train, the image of a boy wizard started to solidify in J. K. Rowling’s mind. She had a notebook but no working pen. So, she just thought about it until it fixed in her mind.

Having a multi-billion dollar idea without a way to record it is why I have a fistful of fine-liners in my coat pockets at all times.

J. R. R. Tolkien was also metaphorically stuck. He was marking exam papers. I know, from experience, the terrible boredom of this task.

On a whim, he wrote on the back of a paper, “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.” Thereafter, he dedicated the rest of his life to making that sentence make sense. Some ideas demand a lot of a person. They are usually worth it.

He gave the paper a good mark.

P. G. Wodehouse created Jeeves as a throw-away character. He had only two lines in the book he first appeared in.

Later, when he was stuck trying to figure of how to get two of his not very clever characters out of trouble, he said, “Well, how can I get them out? And I thought: Suppose one of them had an omniscient valet? I wrote a short story about him, then another short story, then several more short stories and novels. That’s how a character grows. I think I’ve written nine Jeeves novels now and about thirty short stories.”

“Good Lord, Jeeves! Is there anything you don’t know?’ ‘I couldn’t say, sir.” ― P.G. Wodehouse, The Inimitable Jeeves                   

Both Wodehouse and Tolkien were middle-aged men who smoked.

The Definitive Answer

So, the science is in on this important topic and all I have to do is release the definitive result.

Here it is:

Ideas come from a muse who smokes cigars and lives in a basement; who is stuck on a train; watching the News (probably in the shower); while marking exams; trying to figure out how your characters can get out of a situation; in a notebook you wrote your ideas in as a child; and being locked in a room with a deadline.

Simple, I bet it would work for anyone. Why not give it a try?

TOP TIP: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course or join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg.

by Christopher Dean (Who doesn’t smoke but knows people who do.)

Christopher writes and facilitates for Writers Write. Follow him on Twitter.

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. 5 Book Worlds I’d Like To Live In
  2. 7 Ways To Create A Spectacular Magic System For Your Novel
  3. What J. K. Rowling & Other Bestselling Authors Know About Setting
  4. Plotting Your Endgame – Why The Marvel Universe Is Like A Book
  5. 3 Truly Odd Protagonists & Why We Really Really Like Them

The post Where 9 Famous Authors Got Their Ideas appeared first on Writers Write.

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Writers Write creates and shares resources for writers. In this post, our author writes definitively about where authors get their ideas.

50%! No more. No less! According to Stephen King, this is the percentage of ideas that he can point at and say, “I know where that one came from.”

This seems about right, right? I am sure I can pin point about half of my ideas. Most of them happen in the shower. So, if anything, it shows us that the idea gods like us to be clean. Or, perhaps that they should get out the bathroom when I’m trying to wash my hair!

Regardless, where do our other ideas come from?

Where Famous Authors Get Their Ideas Stephen King

Stephen King believes in the muses. Those lovely ladies who hang around poets, artists and writers giving them all their best ideas.

Except King’s muse is a middle aged male slob that lives in his basement. His muse sleeps late and doesn’t like to be disturbed. But, he’s well worth having around.

You see every now and then Mr Muse will surface from his stupor, stub out his cigar, hand-rolled, and burst into King’s office. Throw down a great idea then bugger off without so much as a “farewell”.

But, King says he’s worth his substantial weight in gold. And, you just have to learn to listen to him and pray he never goes away.

Neil Gaiman

On stage a middle-aged Australian man, probably not his or King’s muse, asked:

“Where do you get your ideas from?”

“Ah”, said Gaiman, “You have done the thing that all authors hate. And, we hate it for two reasons. One because we get asked this every day and two we are scared the ideas will stop if we tell someone else.”

Okay, that’s not a direct quote you can watch it here if you want.

What he does say, apart from getting them from an “Idea-of-the-month club”, is useful. He tells us, authors, like everybody, have good ideas. What makes authors different is that they often remember these ideas long enough to recognise that they are good ideas. Then, hopefully, they write them down.

In another interview speaking with his friend and co-author Terry Pratchett they talked about how ideas float from head to head. Pratchett says some people are like sieves. An idea can pass through these people without them ever noticing. But, some people’s brains bang into every idea they come across.

But, if you don’t use them they will find another place to live.

Pratchett and Gaiman say that sometimes they will have an idea for a book then forget about it and suddenly a few years later, “The Book Thief” or something comes out. And they think, “Oh, I remember writing that. Only I didn’t, did I?”

Of course, it was actually Markus Zusak who wrote The Book Thief

Roald Dahl

Ideas can of course be stored. They, like spells, must be bound to a page.

Roald Dahl kept an ideas book from an early age. He would just jot down an idea as it struck him.

This is a normal thing to do, but, I think, most people just forget about them. Dahl had written in one of his school exercise books about a Big Friendly Giant and then at the age of 66 he actually wrote the book.

There is no indication of where he got the idea from, probably in the shower, but it almost seems that ideas are alive. They seek out a mind they like. If they like that mind enough they put down roots and germinate in your notebooks for decades until the idea is ready to be harvested.

I wonder if he had another note in his book that said, “Sky Rhino destroys house, boy, John James, escapes in peach Giant Peach.”

TV Ideas

Other authors get their ideas from more normal places.

Suzanne Collins and Khaled Hosseini both got their ideas from vegetating in front of a TV. Although, I still think Collins pinched the idea from Battle Royale, which is about children fighting to the death in a contest organised by the government.

Either way, she got it from a TV show.

Hosseini was watching a documentary about the Taliban that banned kite flying. So, he wrote a short story that would later become  The Kite Runner.

Collins claims she was switching between a kids’ show and the news late at night. These two blurred in her mind and she thought of the idea for The Hunger Games. Weather that kids show was Battle Royale or not she has never said.

Neither mentioned a shower or middle-aged smoker living in their basement.

Getting Stuck In Places

Douglas Adams was unable to meet deadlines. So, according to his editor, it was often necessary to lock him in a room and force him to write.

This produced some of the strangest and fastest paced books of all time. Luckily, YouTube did not exist when Adams was writing or we would have lost him to it. How many good books have never been written because of social media distractions?

If you enjoy Harry Potter you should thank the poor state of British public transportation.

On her way home, stuck for 4 hours on a “delayed” train, the image of a boy wizard started to solidify in J. K. Rowling’s mind. She had a notebook but no working pen. So she just thought about it until it fixed in her mind.

Having a multi-Billion Dollar idea without a way to record it is why I have a fist full of fine-liners in my coat pockets at all times.

J. R. R. Tolkien was also metaphorically stuck. He was marking exam papers. I know, from experience, the terrible boredom of this task.

On a whim, he wrote on the back of a paper, “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.” Thereafter, he dedicated the rest of his life making that sentence make sense. Some ideas demand a lot of a person. They are usually worth it.

He gave the paper a good mark.

P. G. Wodehouse created Jeeves as a throw away character. He had only two lines in the book he first appeared in.

Later when trying to figure of how to get two of his not very clever characters out of trouble he said, “Well, how can I get them out? And I thought: Suppose one of them had an omniscient valet?

I wrote a short story about him, then another short story, then several more short stories and novels. That’s how a character grows. I think I’ve written nine Jeeves novels now and about thirty short stories.”

“Good Lord, Jeeves! Is there anything you don’t know?’ ‘I couldn’t say, sir.” ― P.G. Wodehouse, The Inimitable Jeeves                   

Both Wodehouse and Tolkien were middle-aged men who smoked.

The Answer

So, the science is in on this important topic and all I have to do is release the result. Here it is:

Ideas come from a man who smokes cigars who lives in a basement; who is stuck on a train; watching the News (probably in the shower); while marking exams; trying to figure out how your characters can get out of a situation; in a notebook you wrote your ideas in as a child; and being locked in a room with a deadline.

Simple, I bet it would work for anyone. Why not give it a try?

TOP TIP: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course or join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg.

by Christopher Dean (Who doesn’t smoke but knows people who do.)

Christopher writes and facilitates for Writers Write. Follow him on Twitter.

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. 5 Book Worlds I’d Like To Live In
  2. 7 Ways To Create A Spectacular Magic System For Your Novel
  3. What J. K. Rowling & Other Bestselling Authors Know About Setting
  4. Plotting Your Endgame – Why The Marvel Universe Is Like A Book
  5. 3 Truly Odd Protagonists & Why We Really Really Like Them

The post Where 9 Famous Authors Got Their Ideas appeared first on Writers Write.

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Writers Write is your one-stop writing resource. In this post, we tell you about traditional writing techniques all marketers need.

GUEST POST

By and large, you don’t win sales with fancy features, glossy visuals, or rich cinematography. You win them with the written word.

Whether you’re creating ads for social media or composing marketing emails, it’s the quality of your copy that will determine your success. So how do you give your content the edge it needs? You draw inspiration from the writing world, of course.

Consider that sales techniques haven’t meaningfully changed in decades (aside from needing a tech update, a car salesperson from the ‘70s could work just as effectively today). The same can be said of writing techniques. The fundamental principles haven’t shifted at all.

So if you want to enhance your marketing efforts, you’re in the right place.

Let’s look at 6 traditional writing techniques that all marketers need to employ:

1. Use very simple terms

Sometimes marketers lack confidence in what they’re promoting, and they try to compensate by throwing in some purple prose. Imagine a recruiter trying to make a bartending job sound more interesting by listing the role as “Beverage Distribution Operative”.

This never works, because people immediately see through it. Your job isn’t to baffle your audience into confusion — if you want people to listen to you, you must cater to their specific preferences. That means communicating using their terms, and cutting the fluff.

2. Go into compelling detail

While your terms need to be simple, that isn’t true of your main points. When you make a claim about your product, being maximally succinct doesn’t make it more powerful. It only deprives it of valuable context. The more you explain the claim, the more believable and effective it gets.

In the literary world, this is often known as the show don’t tell principle. Being impersonal and basic about something leaves the reader cold. If you want something to really grab attention, you need to make it feel rich and engaging.

3. Tell relevant stories

We like to read books about people like us — protagonists we can relate to, whatever the reason may be. That way, we can imagine ourselves as the heroes, heading out on epic adventures and taking control of our fates. Narratives have power.

Since it would be a shame to waste that power, you should embrace storytelling in your marketing copy. Tell a story about someone using the product you’re promoting. How does it make their life better? What problem does it solve? Allow the reader to relate to the story.

4. Lean on comparisons

Writing has always been fully of similes and metaphors. That’s inevitable, because they’re profoundly powerful for describing not only what things are but also how we feel about them. We consistently compare things to communicate across cultural, class, and even regional divides.

Whatever you’re marketing, the product is comparable to a competitor, that’s for sure. You shouldn’t pretend they don’t exist, so why not compare? Find the ways in which the thing you’re marketing is the best — and lean on them heavily.

5. Have a consistent message

Have you ever read a book that suddenly shifted from one genre to another without warning? It’s jarring, giving you tonal whiplash. The reader prefers consistency — if they’re reading a romance novel, that’s the type of content they want from start to finish.

Similarly, marketing demands consistency. You’re looking to slowly build up the momentum of whatever you’re promoting, and that only works if the central message is consistent. If it isn’t, then people won’t know what to believe, and they’ll be unlikely to retain interest.

6. Edit again and again

Some of the best writers in the world write hundreds of drafts before they’re happy with a given piece of work. They know that you don’t just sit down and write something absolutely perfect: even if you get a great start, it’s just as challenging to optimise a piece as it is to write it initially.

In marketing, you don’t just contend with that problem. You also contend with your audience changing rapidly. Your best copy today might not gel with the requirements of tomorrow, so stay on your toes. Always be ready to edit and adapt to new limitations.

by Hollie Jones. Hollie Jones is an expert lifestyle blogger who lives for writing. Hollie’s drive, passion and background come from the arts and media sectors. She’s worked with some of the biggest and most responsible brands in the world, making her ideally positioned to offer lifestyle support and advice. You can read her latest blog posts on Hollie and the Ivy, where she shares tips and advice about her passions while having a lot of fun along the way.

The post 6 Traditional Writing Techniques All Marketers Need appeared first on Writers Write.

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This post shows writers the hidden dangers of social media and shows how social media can hijack your creativity. It also offers you an exercise to break free from its influence.

Social media offers you a great platform as a writer. It gives you a way to connect with readers, publishers, and agents, and even other writers.

But, when you’re living and breathing and writing under the influence of social media, you’re perhaps falling victim to the following three ways that it can hijack your creativity (without you even realising it).

In no way am I saying you must give it up, but like everything in life, a bit of balance is never a bad thing.

3 Ways Too Much Social Media Can Hijack Your Creativity 1.  Social media can create ubiquity.

We all know that the algorithms on social media  sway, shape and influence – and reinforce –  our tastes as readers (and even writers).

Are you writing in an echo chamber?

This creates an ‘ echo chamber’ where your tastes, likes, beliefs and values are fed back to you in a loop. We hear it as comforting and familiar music, but it is actually a distorted feedback screech.

Now, let’s be honest. Influence is not a bad thing, as long as its diverse and you keep an open mind. Ubiquity, on the other hand, is the enemy of creativity.

2.  Social media can create (literary) anxiety.

When we’re following top-selling writers and celebrities, we are perhaps constantly comparing ourselves to them – we don’t give ourselves the freedom to follow our own journey.

As writers, we’re also chasing trends on Amazon and other platforms, the hot new genre, the magic breakout bestseller.  Where will this get you? More often than not, this produces copycat writing, colourless clones, superficial fiction.

It’s good to know the trends, but don’t be a slave to the whims of the market. Get offline long enough to find an authentic niche in the market.

3.  Social media creates distraction.

If you are always online and on social, you don’t fully get to the page with your whole mind and imagination. You don’t go into the story.  Writing is hard enough as it is, so we welcome any distraction

You can’t feel the story if you are online, on your phone, on Instagram.  There you are reminded of what others are doing, what you should be doing, there’s a world of expectations – waiting for the next alert, Tweet, picture and so forth.

Social media can ruin your focus. You can’t cut it out of your life – in fact, you shouldn’t – but you can take a break from it  now and then.

Try this: Take a ‘time out’

This week,  switch of your laptop and phone for a whole day. Think about what has hijacked your creativity. When you’re alone, what are the things that creep up on you – that shock you, make you feel scared? What excites you or takes you into your imagination?

You need just the quiet, maybe a pen or blank page, a sketch pad, just space.  You don’t even have to write a single word. But, be alone with yourself and your thoughts and images and ideas.

This is probably where you power lies, this is the first whisper of a great idea, story or character.

 by Anthony Ehlers

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Why Credible Characters Are Essential For A Convincing Screenplay
  2. Why You Should Write A Screenplay
  3. 5 Lies New Screenwriters Tell Themselves
  4. 7 Deadly Rules For Creating A Villain
  5. How To Write The Tragic Love Story – A 10-Step Formula

The post 3 Ways Too Much Social Media Can Hijack Your Creativity appeared first on Writers Write.

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Do you write in a crisp tone using plain language at all times? Are you looking for a change? In this post, the author suggests nine ways to write with literary flair.

GUEST POST

Do you grow heartsick every time someone compliments you for your ‘breezy, workmanlike prose’— your ’eminent readability’?

Fear not.

I’ve done the legwork for you and collected this list of literary techniques employed by the contemporary luminaries of fiction. Whether you wish to capture the spare, muscular minimalism of Carver, or the edgy, evocative maximalism of Pynchon— there’s something here for writers of every disposition.

This is a delightful little grab-bag of tricks, ready-made for you to sprinkle across your writing as liberally as you choose. Hybridise, if you wish. We live in an age when ‘nothing is out, and everything is in’.

To heck with tonal consistency or compatibility: why not see if you can sew together a Frankenstein’s prose-monster that’s equal parts Faulkner and Hemingway?

Ready? Let’s get to it.

9 Ways To Write With Literary Flair

1.) Archaism: outmoded diction, syntax, or both.

Stylistic origins: Minimalism
Famed practitioner: Cormac McCarthy
Example: For by his use of the King James’s idiom shall ye know the truly serious writer.
When to use it: Anytime you wish to alert the reader to the majesty— the sublimity— of a moment in your story, archaise.

2.) Extensive use of figurative language: multiple metaphors or similes strung together in quick succession.

Stylistic origins: Maximalism
Famed practitioner: Annie Proulx
Example: The cast stone tap-tap-tap-danced across the pond’s mirrored surface, pirouetting with every leap, and finally sunk like a millstone tied around the neck of a ballerina who’d run afoul of the mafia.
When to use it: Use this technique to amplify an otherwise mundane character, action, or setting.

3.) Fragments: Telegram-like omission of pronouns and articles.

Stylistic origins: Minimalism
Famed practitioner: also Annie Proulx
Example: Worked multiple odd jobs throughout college. Read. Wrote. Read and wrote some more. Ate too little. Drank too much. Never slept.
When to use it: Worried that your thrilling prose might slacken during moments of necessary exposition? Enliven it with some impressionistic fragments.

4.) Jargon: arcane, esoteric words and phrases.

Stylistic origins: Maximalism
Famed practitioner: Michael Chabon
Example: Even the ontological origins of her art in simulacra couldn’t dissuade her from seeking in it a potent, emotionally resonant form of self-individuation.
When to use it: If you fear the reader might be growing too comfortable with your style, shock them out of the story with the bold use of jargon.

5.) Listing: an overwhelming list of items in lieu of carefully selected details.

Stylistic origins: Maximalism
Famed practitioner: Don DeLillo
Example: The pub was packed with burgermeisters, barflies, sots, gluttons, tarts, and minors smoking, drinking, eating, flirting, shooting pool, throwing darts, and crying in corners.
When to use it: Don’t want to take the time to really set the scene? Just list a bunch of random details to create a sense of panoramic sweep.

6.) Modification of every syntactic slot: Modify the subject, verb, and object, each with their own clause.

Stylistic origins: Maximalism
Famed practitioner: David Guterson
Example: The professor, her hair a grey helmet framing her pinched face, strode stiffly, like a creaky automaton, joints long overdue for a good oiling, into the cinderblock and cracked linoleum classroom, lit intermittently by flickering, buzzing halogen lights.
When to use it: Ditto the section on figurative language.

7.) Polysyndeton: Repetition of the word ‘and.’

Stylistic origins: Minimalism
Famed practitioner: Paul Auster
Example: And he rose before the dawn and he showered and he shaved and he donned his best suit and he drove to work as the rest of the world was still only yawning and stretching.
When to use it: Raise the quotidian moments in your story to a more writerly pitch with this revered, biblical technique.

8.) Stream-of-consciousness: unfiltered, unpunctuated interior experience of the point-of-view character.

Stylistic origins: Maximalism
Famed practitioner: George Saunders
Example: he was really getting going now hey watch him go head bobbing like a pigeons legs wobbling like who knows what if only sara could see him now under the black light the disco ball fragmenting specks that pockmarked the room with bullet holes of light like tommy gun fire the beat four on the floor pulsing through the speakers into his chest rattling his molars
When to use it: Sharing interiority directly via italics or through free indirect speech is too obvious; try this method instead.

9.) Tautology: restating the same thing using synonyms, or alternative phrasing.

Stylistic origins: Maximalism
Famed practitioner: Really— what self-respecting literary author doesn’t use this technique?
Example: His dog, his best friend, canis familiaris, trotted after him, plodding along, tail tucked, abashed, ashamed of himself.
When to use it: Worried the reader didn’t grasp your meaning the first time around? Say the same thing again in a slightly different way. Crack open that thesaurus and use every synonym for maximum accumulation of meaning. Because, remember, there really is no such thing as a synonym.

And that’s it. Use these tried and true techniques at every opportunity and you’re guaranteed to catch the attention of the literati.

 by Oliver Fox

Oliver was raised on fairy tales, mythology, and tall tales told at family gatherings. He was so in love with stories that he wrote, illustrated and bound his first book at age 6. From age 12 on he filled countless journals with terrible, angsty poetry. Currently, he is an MFA candidate at the University of New Orleans remote program and I work as an editorial assistant at The Spun Yarn. Follow him on Facebook.

The post 9 Ways To Write With Literary Flair appeared first on Writers Write.

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Writers Write is a writing resource. In this post, we suggest how you can use the 7 deadly sins to define your memoir.

I have written about why the most important part of writing a memoir is all about the how. What happens is obviously vital, but how it happened is why people read memoirs.

One of the most powerful ways to show the how, is by showing our weaknesses and lapses of judgement. I thought using the 7 deadly sins could be a powerful way to define this in your story.

You could be guilty of committing the sin or you could be the victim of somebody who committed the sin. It reminds us to show ourselves and our adversaries as real people with flaws and not as unrealistic heroic or evil figures.

In fact, one of the sins is usually the reason for your memoir, and you can use it to work out the theme of your memoir. [We teach you how to identify your theme on our Secrets of a Memoirist course.]

What Are The 7 Deadly Sins?

The seven deadly sins are Christian vices.

‘Most of them, with the exception of sloth, are defined by Dante Alighieri as perverse or corrupt versions of love for something or another:

  • lust, gluttony, and greed are all excessive or disordered love of good things;
  • sloth is a deficiency of love;
  • wrath, envy, and pride are perverted love directed toward other’s harm.’ (via)

Each of these sins can be overcome with the seven corresponding virtues of humility, charity, chastity, gratitude, temperance, patience, and diligence.

Use The 7 Deadly Sins To Define Your Memoir

You can use the sin as a starting point. The corresponding virtue could be part of the lesson you learn in the course of your story.

  1. Greed: Greed is the selfish urge to want more than you could ever use or need. The corresponding virtue is charity.
  2. Lust: Lust is commonly the sexual desire for another, but it can refer to a desire for things like power, knowledge, and respect. Like greed, lust is seldom satisfied. In a memoir, lust could result in adultery. The corresponding virtue is chastity.
  3. Envy: Envy is a covetous longing that is aroused by somebody else’s possessions, successes, advantages, qualities, or luck. Jealousy and envy are the most common motivations for crimes in real life.  The corresponding virtue is gratitude.
  4. Pride/Vanity: Pride can be positive and negative. It’s good to think of yourself positively, but you can take it too far and develop an inordinate sense of self-esteem. Possessions, status, and accomplishments can go to your head and make you feel better than you really are. The corresponding virtue is humility.
  5. Sloth: Sloth is extreme laziness and apathy. The corresponding virtue is diligence.
  6. Wrath: Wrath is defined as an uncontrolled feeling of violent rage. It is the desire to do harm. The corresponding virtue is temperance.
  7. Gluttony: Gluttony is overindulging in, and over-consuming, anything to the point of waste. The corresponding virtue is patience.

Which of the 7 deadly sins are part of your memoir?

If you want to learn how to write a memoir, join our Secrets of a Memoirist course.

© Amanda Patterson

If you liked this articleyou may enjoy

  1. Yes, You Do Need Scenes And Sequels In Memoirs
  2. 204 Words That Describe Colours – A Resource For Writers
  3. Where Should You Begin Your Memoir?
  4. 75 Words That Describe Smells
  5. Use These 7 Gaslighting Phrases To Make Your Antagonist More Manipulative
  6. 106 Ways To Describe Sounds

The post Use The 7 Deadly Sins To Define Your Memoir appeared first on Writers Write.

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Writers Write is a writing resource. In this post, we reveal how you can use the 7 deadly sins to make your memoir more powerful.

I have written about why the most important part of writing a memoir is all about the how. What happens is obviously vital, but how it happened is why people read memoirs.

One of the most powerful ways to show the how, is by showing our weaknesses and lapses of judgement. I thought using the 7 deadly sins could be a powerful way to highlight this in your story.

You could be guilty of committing the sin or you could be the victim of somebody who committed the sin. It reminds us to show ourselves and our adversaries as real people with flaws and not as unrealistic heroic or evil figures.

In fact, one of the sins could be the reason for your memoir, or the theme of your memoir.

What Are The 7 Deadly Sins?

The seven deadly sins are Christian vices.

‘Most of them, with the exception of sloth, are defined by Dante Alighieri as perverse or corrupt versions of love for something or another:

  • lust, gluttony, and greed are all excessive or disordered love of good things;
  • sloth is a deficiency of love;
  • wrath, envy, and pride are perverted love directed toward other’s harm.’ (via)

Each of these sins can be overcome with the seven corresponding virtues of humility, charity, chastity, gratitude, temperance, patience, and diligence.

Use The 7 Deadly Sins To Make Your Memoir More Powerful

You can use the sin as a starting point and the virtue as part of the lesson you learn in the course of your story.

  1. Greed: Greed is the selfish urge to want more than you could ever use or need. The corresponding virtue is charity.
  2. Lust: Lust is commonly the sexual desire for another, but it can refer to a desire for things like power, knowledge, and respect. Like greed, lust is seldom satisfied. In a memoir, lust could result in adultery. The corresponding virtue is chastity.
  3. Envy: Envy is a covetous longing that is aroused by somebody else’s possessions, successes, advantages, qualities, or luck. Jealousy and envy are the most common motivations for crimes in real life.  The corresponding virtue is gratitude.
  4. Pride/Vanity: Pride can be positive and negative. It’s good to think of yourself positively, but you can take it too far and develop an inordinate sense of self-esteem. Possessions, status, and accomplishments can go to your head and make you feel better than you really are. The corresponding virtue is humility.
  5. Sloth: Sloth is extreme laziness and apathy. The corresponding virtue is diligence.
  6. Wrath: Wrath is defined as an uncontrolled feeling of violent rage. It is the desire to do harm. The corresponding virtue is temperance.
  7. Gluttony: Gluttony is overindulging in, and over-consuming, anything to the point of waste. The corresponding virtue is patience.

Which of the 7 deadly sins are part of your memoir?

If you want to learn how to write a memoir, join our Secrets of a Memoirist course.

© Amanda Patterson

If you liked this articleyou may enjoy

  1. Yes, You Do Need Scenes And Sequels In Memoirs
  2. 204 Words That Describe Colours – A Resource For Writers
  3. Where Should You Begin Your Memoir?
  4. 75 Words That Describe Smells
  5. Use These 7 Gaslighting Phrases To Make Your Antagonist More Manipulative
  6. 106 Ways To Describe Sounds

The post Use The 7 Deadly Sins To Make Your Memoir More Powerful appeared first on Writers Write.

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Writers Write is a writing resource. We create and share serious and fun posts, including this literary book title generator for writers.

Literary novels are more character-driven, more concerned with ideas than plots, more filled with literary references and (sometimes) obscure vocabulary, than popular fiction.

If you want to know more about what a literary book is, read this article: What’s The Difference Between A Commercial And A Literary Plot?

According to Maeve Maddox, these are examples of literary fiction that have appealed to large audiences:

  1. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  2. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  3. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  4. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

If you want to write a literary novel, or if you just want to have some fun, use this generator a title for your next literary novel.

Literary Book Title Generator

Top Tip: If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

© Amanda Patterson

If you liked this articleyou may enjoy

  1. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Apostrophes
  2. Yes, You Do Need Scenes And Sequels In Memoirs
  3. 204 Words That Describe Colours – A Resource For Writers
  4. Where Should You Begin Your Memoir?
  5. 75 Words That Describe Smells

The post Literary Book Title Generator appeared first on Writers Write.

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