Writers on writing: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Letters of Note features this gem written by Fitzgerald to an aspiring writer and family friend who asked him for feedback on a story.

“You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner.”

Do follow the link and read the whole letter, and if you’re hungry for more here’s the book it’s taken from: A Life in Letters: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Writers on Writing: Haruki Murakami

In his memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running Murakami covers training for marathons alongside reminiscences from his life and travels and, of course, his writing.

It’s a slim volume that captivated me even though I have no particular interest in running (apart from to admire the discipline and effort involved) and am more likely to grow a second head than to go for a jog.

I particularly liked this passage in which Murakami discusses the similarities between long distance running and writing a novel:

I stop every day right at the point where I feel I can write more. Do that, and the next day’s work goes suprisingly smoothly… To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed – and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage.

Do you agree? How important is pace to you?

Writers on writing: Joss Whedon

Riki Lindhome (actress, writer and one half of Garfunkel and Oates) interviews Joss Whedon about writing and his career.

I recommend listening to the whole thing: Joss comes across as a really nice, down-to-earth guy.

Even though Joss says he ‘loves writing’ (the lucky duck) and he’s one those irritatingly prolific people who make me feel more-than-usually-inadquate, I did enjoy his advice to the would-be writer:

“If you’re a writer you need to write. You have to do it and you need to have to do it because it’s gruelling. You have to give yourself over to it completely. And that doesn’t mean that you have to become tortured, it doesn’t mean you have to become a dick, it doesn’t mean you have to ignore the people you love, it just means that is you. That is what you are. And that kind of passionate tenacity is necessary when people are telling you it’s not going to work out.”

[Via Diane Shipley on Twitter – thanks!]