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Writing Advice From The Experts - Part 1

Marlene is a published author who enjoys sharing tips that have helped her succeed in writing fiction, non fiction, and screenplays.


The best advice for writers in the 21st Century comes from those who have proven success in the craft we writers wish to master. As writers, we would do well to trust the experience of those successful writers and take hold of the advice they give feely.

Allow me to start this article with words of wisdom from a prominent poet. Poetry is an art form that intrigues me the most because it takes a specific kind of skill to master words in such a precise way that the work tells a story with the minutest number of phrases.

Hart Crane

Hart Crane may not be known to many today; however, in the 1930s, Harold Hart Crane, also known as Hart Crane, was a notable American Poet who was highly acclaimed for his book titled, The Bridge. This book was written in 1930, and it contains a series of long poems that the Brooklyn Bridge inspired. His book celebrates life in America.

Crane was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1931, and Crane says to writers,

"One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.

Now, let's explore what other writers have to share about fine-tuning the craft of writing.

On Writing Well

In teaching writers how to write, the following notable writers have some very keen words of wisdom about writing well.

Henry James

Henry James was a nineteenth-century American novelist who is most famed for writing such novels as Daisy Miller, The Portrait of a Lady, The Bostonians, and The Ambassadors. He would say to writers,

"Show don't tell."

I think what James means here is that writers must use words so that readers can see, feel, and experience the writer's words.

Mark Twain

His real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, but he was known as Mark Twain. He was an American writer most known for writing Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Most of us remember how both of these books were standard reading assignments in school. In helping writers get their reading audience engaged with a story, Mark Twain would say,

"Don't say the old lady screamed -- bring her on and let her scream."

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American novelist, also known as F. Scott Fitzgerald. He was an essayist, short story writer, and screenwriter. Many believe he is the most excellent writer of the 20th Century. He is most known for writing these four novels, This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night.

Sometimes, writers overuse punctuation marks, and F. Scott Fitzgerald would say,

"Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke."

Bernard Malamud

Bernard Malamud won a Pulitzer Prize for writing, The Fixer in 1966. This novel takes place in tsarist Russia. It is a story about a Jewish handyman unjustly imprisoned for the murder of a Christian boy. Malamud gives writers this advice,

"First drafts are for learning what your novel or story is about."

I think what Malamud means here is that writers need to learn to write all of their thoughts down first and then fine-tune their work later.

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Sidney Sheldon

Sidney Sheldon was famous for writing books that readers could not put down until they read it to the end. He was famous for writing titles like Rage of Angels, The Other Side of Midnight, Master of the Game, and If Tomorrow Comes. Sheldon says,

"Usually, when people get to the end of a chapter, they close the book and go to sleep. I deliberately write a book so when the reader gets to the end of the chapter, he or she must turn one more page. When people tell me I've kept them up all night, I feel like I've succeeded."

Stanley Schmidt

Stanley Schmidt is a writer who was a Hugo Award winner in 2013 for Best Editor, Short Form. He was also a recipient of the 2015 SFWA Solstice Award, the 2013 LoneStarCon 3 Special Committee Award, and the 2012 winner of the Robert A. Heinlein Award given for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings. Schmidt gives writers this tip,

"Don't mistake a good setup for a satisfying conclusion -- many beginning writers end their stories when the real story is just ready to begin."

On Inspiration

How do writers inspire themselves to get up every day and write? The following authors share some insightful words of wisdom about how to be inspired to write.

Jack London

Jack London's real name was John Griffith Chaney. He was a novelist and short-story writer who was best known for writing, The Call of the Wild and White Fang. Of all the American writers of the 20th Century, his work was the most extensively translated. London has this to say about inspiration,

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

William Faulkner

William Faulkner wrote numerous novels, screenplays, poems, and short stories. Today he is best remembered for his books, The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, and Absalom, Absalom! In 1949 Faulkner won the Nobel Prize in literature. His advice for writers is,

"Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write."

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is a best-selling writer. The literary world says the only books that have outsold Christie's books are the Bible and Shakespeare. When Christie gives advice, we listen. Christi says this about finding inspiration,

"The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes."

Lurleen McDaniel

Lurleen McDaniel has written over 70 young adult novels. She has won many awards for her books, being a recipient of the RITA Award, the Romance Writers of America's highest distinction in romance fiction. She has this to say to aspiring writers,

"So this is always the key: you have to write the book you love, the book that's alive in your heart. That's the one you have to write."

Madeleine L'Engle

Children's author, Madeleine L'Engle, known for such works as Meet the Austins and A Wrinkle in Time, suggests that writers should write no matter how they feel at the moment. L'Engle has this intriguing thought for writers,

"I know writers who write only when inspiration comes. How would Isaac Stern play if he played the violin only when he felt like it? He would be lousy."

Conclusion - Part 1 of Writing Advice From the Experts

In Part One of this series titled, Writing Advice From the Experts, we have read some poignant words of wisdom about writing well and finding inspiration for writing.

In the second part of this series, we will look at a few words of wisdom from more successful authors regarding writer's block, motivation, and editing skills.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Marlene Bertrand


Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 16, 2021:

Hi Devika! It is good to see you! I enjoy reading your work. Thank you for your inspiration.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 13, 2021:

Hi MarleneB Writing advice such as this sounds useful and to most writers does help them in writing in many ways. I write to share my experiences here. I admire that you are writing as much as you can on Hubpages.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 12, 2021:

Hello John! And when you say mediocre, surely, you do not fall into that category. I truly enjoy reading your work and consider you to be a highly skilled writer. And, by the way, thank you very much for your encouraging words.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 12, 2021:

Hello Pamela! These are all (in my mind) fabulous writers who openly share their wisdom from which we could all learn a thing or two. Thank you very much for your encouraging feedback.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 12, 2021:

Hello Chitrangada Sharan! Thank you so much. I have read all of these writers, too. Their work is incredible. And, as writers do, I am happy they share such wisdom with other aspiring writers.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 12, 2021:

Hello Miebakagh Fiberesima! I am glad you enjoyed reading. There are so many famous authors to learn from, I had to split the article up into a series just to cover the ones I feel we could learn the most.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 12, 2021:

Hello Dora! I know what you mean... especially L'Engle. I think that's why I saved her for last.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 12, 2021:

Hello Umesh Chandra Bhatt! Thank you! I am pleased that you enjoyed it.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 12, 2021:

You are very welcome, Bill. I am glad you have been inspired. And, Nike's slogan seems to be the gist of it... Just do it!

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 12, 2021:

Hi Brenda! Something I have been doing lately is reading what other writers think and do. I love this profession and it's often confirmation to learn how notable writers write.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 12, 2021:

Nice to read what other writers think.

I use advice videos in my word prompts to help creativity.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2021:

Oh my goodness, I think I read everything ever written about writing advice before I took the plunge. Some of it was helpful; some of it made me question my sanity. lol In the end, Nike was the most helpful....JUST DO IT! :) Thanks for rekindling my love of writing for today, my friend.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 12, 2021:

Nice compilation, very well presented, thank you for sharing.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 12, 2021:

Thanks for the writing advice from these experts. We do well to learn from them. The Madeleine L'Engle and Jack London quotes are screaming at me.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on October 12, 2021:

I read it from beginning to end, for it's interesting and enlightening. Thanks. Looking forward to s3ing part 2 in print.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 12, 2021:

Hello Marlene!

Great inspiring quotes from the celebrated writers. I have read most of them, and I liked your idea of writing an article, about their advice.

Thank you for sharing the wise words. Have a good day.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 12, 2021:

I have read many of these book, and I enjoyed all the information you provided, Marlene. I really like the advice of the writers.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 12, 2021:

I loved the advice and quotes by all these notable writers. We mediocre writers would do very well to remember it all and try to put it into practice. Thank you for sharing.

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