Tag Archives: writers

Writers On Style

12 Nov


Pace is crucial. Fine writing isn’t enough. Writing students can be great at producing a single page of well-crafted prose; what they sometimes lack is the ability to take the reader on a journey, with all the changes of terrain, speed and mood that a long journey involves. Sarah Waters

Get into the scene late, get out of the scene early. – David Mamet

The thing to go for is speed. Nothing puts the reader off more than a great slab of prose at the start. P.G. WODEHOUSE

“The king died and then the queen died” is a story. “The king died, and then the queen died of grief” is a plot. … Consider the death of the queen. If it is in a story we say “and then?” If it is in a plot we ask “why?” — E.M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel

‘The cat sat on the mat’ is not the beginning of a story, but ‘the cat sat on the dog’s mat’ is. – John le Carré

Any fiction should be a story. In any story there are three elements: persons, a situation, and the fact that in the end something has changed. If nothing has changed, it isn’t a story. ~ Malcolm Cowley

Short paragraphs put air around what you write and make it look inviting, whereas one long chunk of type can discourage the reader from even starting to read. ~ William  Zinsser 

Once somebody’s aware of a plot, it’s like a bone sticking out. If it breaks through the skin, it’s very ugly. – Louis Auchincloss


Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie. ~ Stephen King

What I’m trying to achieve is a voice sitting by a fireplace telling you a story on a winter’s evening. – Truman Capote

Writing well means never having to say, “I guess you had to be there.” Jef Mallett