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Writing Advice From The Experts - Part 3

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


Established authors, past and present, have no need to candy coat the truth about writing. The final article in this three-part series is dedicated to sharing writing wisdom about learning the art of writing, adding humor to our work, and naming our work.

On Learning the Art of Writing

Writing is a craft where proficiency in creating a beautiful work can satisfy both the artist-writer and the reader. The following authors have plenty to share about how to learn the art of writing.

Robert Southey

I went to and counted over 100 books written by Robert Southey. He was an avid writer of poems, and he is the writer who authored the book titled The Story of the Three Bears, the original story of Goldilocks.

Southey offers his advice about learning the art of writing.

By writing much, one learns to write well.

— Robert Southey

Having written numerous books, Southey certainly lives by his advice.

Robert Frost

A great poet, Robert Frost has won many accolades and awards, one being the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1923 with his book titled New Hampshire.

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.

— Robert Frost

Frost writes with a style that brings on emotions with every reading. I think what Frost means by his quote is that if you, the writer, are bored with what you wrote, the reader will be bored too. If you find your content exciting, then there is a good chance the reader will find it exciting too.

Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott has written over 20 fiction and nonfiction books. She was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985 and inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2010.

Lamott gives the following advice to writers.

Plot springs from character.... I’ve always sort of believed that these people inside me -- these characters -- know who they are and what they’re about and what happens, and they need me to help get it down on paper because they don’t type.

— Anne Lamott

I once watched a documentary featuring Anne Lamott. Her spirit about life and humor intrigued me to learn more about her. I am a member of her Facebook Group, where she shares her soul and interviews other well-known writers. Her humor is endless, and it makes sense that she would have a humorous way of coaching writers to write.

Rod Serling

Rod Serling was a screenwriter, playwright, television producer, and narrator. While Serling is most known for being the host of The Twilight Zone, Serling has also written over 29 other books, including Planet of the Apes Visionary.

Serling won twelve awards for his work in writing and producing plays and television shows. He won several Primetime Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. For his Requiem for a Heavyweight writing, Serling won the Peabody Award in 1956 for Personal Recognition for Writing.

Whenever you write, whatever you write, never make the mistake of assuming the audience is any less intelligent than you are.

— Rod Serling

Serling’s quote suggests that writers should write with the understanding that readers are intelligent enough to discern when writers put in sound efforts to write brilliantly.

On Humor

Psychologists say laughter is the best medicine. Dispersing whimsies throughout your work is an insightful way to keep your reader happy and engaged with your book. The following authors have witty words to share about the art of bringing humor to your work.

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Raymond Chandler

Raymond Thornton Chandler was a novelist and screenwriter. In all, he wrote over 27 books. He was famous for writing crime and pulp fiction, and many of his novels were made into motion pictures.

Chandler won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 1955 for his novel titled The Long Goodbye.

About adding humor, Chandler says to do the following.

When in doubt have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.

— Raymond Chandler

Chandler is very candid when it comes to humor.

Mark Twain

With his humorous writing style, Mark Twain is by far the most notable author of all time. His quotes are quite profound, and I felt compelled to use several of his quotes, as seen in Parts One and Two of this series.

I am sure that if I tried, I would not be able to find a single writer who has not read Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, for which he is most famous for writing.

I like the advice Twain shares about how to tell a humorous story.

The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it.

— Mark Twain

Twain was notorious for telling a humorous story as if it deserved mournful attention, when in fact, it turns out to be an amusing tale.

On Naming Your Work

A good title can certainly tempt a reader to pick up your book to read it. The following authors share tips on writing titles that draw attention to your book.

Walker Percy

Walker Percy wrote many articles for philosophical, literary, and psychiatric journals. His first novel was published in 1961 and was titled The Moviegoer. This is a book about a stockbroker who was fed up with the real world and would frequently attend movies as a way to escape. This novel won the National Book Award in 1962.

Walker has written over 18 novels, and each one has a title that clearly elucidates the novel’s content. One of his titles includes Love in the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World.

Readers would not be disappointed if they picked up Love in the Ruins and were entertained by the telling of a doctor who is immersed in contemplation of life and its sensitivity to chance and ruin.

On naming your work, Percy has the following advice.

A good title should be like a good metaphor. It should intrigue without being too baffling or too obvious.

— Walker Percy

Percy has a knack for naming novels. It is no wonder he would suggest titles that pique the reader’s imagination.

Angela Giles Klocke

Angela Giles Klocke is a writer, speaker, and coach who helps female trauma survivors. Guiles is specifically an essayist and memoir writer. Her writings have appeared in over 32 publications such as Mabel Magazine, Venn Magazine, Inkspot, and Writer’s Weekly. Klocke has been mentioned in publications such as Real Simple Magazine, Writer’s Digest, and The Renegade Writer.

About naming your work, Klocke has this to say.

The title to a work of writing is like a house’s front porch.... It should invite you to come on in.

— Angela Giles Klocke

I agree with Klocke. In fact, the title should be the introduction that invites readers to explore more.

Conclusion: Part Three of the Three-part Series of Writing Advice From the Experts

I hope this series has shown you that, while many writers consider writing an earnest business, successful, award-winning writers tap into the humorous side of being a writer. Whether fiction or nonfiction, writers must learn the craft of telling their story well.

I hope you catch the sense that successful authors draw from the real stuff of life, keep things simple and well told.

Learn to write well by writing more. Give your book an intriguing title. And, above all, instill a little humor into your writing to sustain the interest of yourself and your audience.

In this three-part series, you have read some valuable tips. Writers from past centuries to the present have imparted wisdom that I hope has inspired you to write more.

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 23, 2021:

Thank you, Devika. I am so glad you had a chance to read these quotes and even more glad that you found them to be useful.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 23, 2021:

Thank you, John. You offer such wonderful encouragement. I truly value your feedback.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 22, 2021:

MarleneB You got it right! Writing advice that is so useful to all writers. Reading and writing teach us to see stories, poetry and personal experiences from a different perspective.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 20, 2021:

Part 3 of your series was a wonderful way to end it. All of these quotes by esteemed authors offered great advice. Robert Frost was spot on. Thank you for sharing, Marlene. All three parts were an enjoyable read.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 20, 2021:

Yes, Brenda, exactly! If I read something I wrote and if it doesn't excite me, then I figure it probably won't excite the reader either.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 20, 2021:

Write what you write...that's grand advice.

I believe Robert Frost has a point.

Our work must capture emotions both in the writer and the reader.

If we don't feel the isn't there.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 20, 2021:

Hi Rodric! These writers taught me a lot about writing. Mostly, I learned that I could do better to read more and to write even more.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 20, 2021:

Thank you, Bill. You know, you are such a great storyteller that we could all learn a lot from you, as well.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 20, 2021:

Excellent advice from you at the end of this article. A rose by any other name is still a rose...writing is, and always will be, storytelling. Makes no difference what genre, or fiction or nonfiction, we are all storytellers, and we carry on a tradition as rich as humanity.

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on October 20, 2021:

Thank you for sharing this content. I really enjoyed reading the quotes and learning the wisdom from the authors. I did not read the other articles that you wrote, so, I need to read the others. Good job too.

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