More Writers on Writing

Just what the title says. There is no best way to write. Find a process that works for you and follow it. Sometimes, as in my case, it’s not about how you write; the inhibitor more revolves around why you write. Once I learned whom I write for and why, my writing began to improve tremendously. Here are some successful authors’ views:

Charlie Rose talks to Martin Amis, Zadie Smith, Malcolm Gladwell, Joan Didion, Jonathan Franzen, and Fran Lebowitz:

Fran, by the way, voices my own problem with my writing. I’ve recently encountered an impasse, not because my writing is bad, but precisely because I’ve reached that precipice where I could make The Leap. Suddenly, who cares about good? Good, as we know, is the enemy of great.

So, the problem with posting talks from writers is that even the most inhibited author is full of words. Try getting one to talk for fewer than 30 minutes. Nonetheless, here are a few  more short talks.

William Faulkner on The Sound and the Fury:

Tennessee Williams:

Anne Rice:

(Blogger’s note: I swapped out Gore Vidal because I’d decided he really didn’t say anything worth listening to.)

Elmore Leonard:

(This is my favorite of these interviews. He’s describing my current book, and now I know what my issue has been. I’ve let the characters in without an audition.)

Hope you enjoy the videos.


10 thoughts on “More Writers on Writing

  1. EagleAye says:

    Great stuff, Bill. I thought Elmore Leonard was really helpful. Ialso liked what Fran Liebowitz was saying when she said her editor says she sometimes blocked by her reverence for books, and then she’s says, “Nothing lives up to books.” So awesome. I feel the same way. Thanks much for posting these!

    1. Bill Jones, Jr. says:

      Thank you, it was my pleasure. Elmore Leonard was my favorite too. I think you can fall in Fran’s pit once you realize your writing can become really good. Then, suddenly, what you’ve been doing is not nearly good enough. It’s easy to become hamstrung and quit, rather than to force yourself to grow.

      I think I’m at that point, now that no one buys or reads books. 🙂

    1. Bill Jones, Jr. says:

      Thanks, Ark. I’ve never read his books, but I really liked his advice. It’s coming in handy now, as I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening with my latest work.

      1. Arkenaten says:

        Yeah, made me think about speech patterns. I have an older MS open and am squizzing it as I type this reply.
        But he’s spot on about the rewrites.

        1. Bill Jones, Jr. says:

          I’d been driving Maria bonkers with my whinging about this book, and then saw the video, and realized I was writing a character study, not an action adventure. Suddenly, I like the book.”

          1. Arkenaten says:

            Some writers go on about discipline but I find I write only when I’ve got something to say, when the ideas are so clear I can write it in my head and it’s then just a matter of transferring those thoughts to ”paper”. This is why I write in my head while I jog.
            My published novel was the easiest one I’ve written. Fair enough, the rewrites were often murder, especially the metaphorical punch ups I had with my editor, but the actual story and formulation of ideas – plot characters etc was like opening a sluice gate.
            That scenario has never repeated itself I am sad to say.

            I wish I could find that formula again 🙂

  2. Mélanie says:

    yep, I did enjoy the videos… excellent choice(s), thanx young man! tons of inspiration and have a pleasant Sunday! 🙂 P.S. I don’t use capital letters – with one exception: (for) the proper nouns… 🙂

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