The greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor. This alone cannot be imparted by another; it is the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances.
Aristotle (via writingquotes)
I had a high school teacher tell me this once too—that the most difficult thing to do in writing is to come up with good metaphors, and if you can, you’re a genius. I believe it.
By the way, we have a neat article called 5 Tips for
Becoming A Genius Creating Great Metaphors & Similes. Check it.
We rely upon the poets, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can only feel, in joy or sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering, I rush to them. They give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on.
Writing is physical work. It’s sweaty work. You can’t just will yourself to become a good writer. You really have to work at it.
Somebody gets into trouble, then gets out of it again. People love that story. They never get tired of it.
The best way to use Twitter? I don’t wanna brag, but I do have 1.5 million Twitter followers so this is kind of my area of expertise. And in my professional opinion the best way to use Twitter is to tell people what’s on your Tumblr. I don’t know if there’s another use for Twitter, really, than to be like, Look! Look what I Tumbled about today!
Publishing is a business. Writing may be art, but publishing, when all is said and done, comes down to dollars.
All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn’t your pet — it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.
You must be able to step inside your character’s skin and at the same time to remain outside the dicey circumstances you have maneuvered her into. I can’t remember how many times I advised students to stop writing the sunny hours and write from where it hurts: “No one wants to read polite. It puts them to sleep.
I began to like New York, the racy, adventurous feel of it at night, the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye.
You can kill the spell of identification just as easily as you can create it—if you lose the reader’s sympathy for the character. You can lose reader sympathy by having your character commit acts of cruelty to another character with whom the readers identify more strongly or for whom they have strong sympathy. You can lose reader sympathy by having the character make dumb choices—acting at less than maximum capacity. The idiot in the horror story who responds to creepy noises by going into the attic armed only with a candle is an example. You can lose reader sympathy when a character seems too ordinary, is stereotyped, or doesn’t struggle hard enough. The reader wants to cheer a fighter, not witness a milquetoast wallowing in, say, self-pity.
Yup! Rule #1 about main characters: Whether they’re “good” or “bad”, the reader should root for him/her, and find him/her “a sympathetic character” (this isn’t the usual definition of sympathy as “feeling bad for someone”, and it doesn’t mean that the character is sympathetic but rather that the reader is sympathetic to the character—it comes from the German word sympatisch, which means likeable/appealing).
Writers don’t write from experience, though many are resistant to admit that they don’t. I want to be clear about this. If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.
I do things like get in a taxi and say, “The library, and step on it.
Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being
A. A. Milne
What a morose quote from the author of Winnie the Pooh, haha. Apropos quote, though.