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❶I know of no shortcuts. All the information you need can be given in dialogue.

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Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts. There never have been, nor can there ever be. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story. The essence will not be, of course, the same thing as the raw material; it is not even of the same family of things. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood.

Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done. What Rembrandt or Van Gogh saw in the night can never be seen again. You can do that in 20 minutes, and 15 inches. Some high school kid was leading a campaign to ban books he found offensive from the school library. The story was short, mostly about the issue.

But Bearak had a fact that he withheld until the kicker. The fact put the whole story, subtly, in complete perspective. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.

Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper. Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. Let them think you were born that way. You have to explain one drop—H 2 O. The reader will get it.

Everything else is just odd jobs. A character is a caricature. This is an enormous relief, and you can sit there searching for the point at which the story becomes a toboggan and starts to slide.

Like what you read from WD online? My favorite here is: Thanks for the inspiration. 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. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. A Memoir of the Craft. The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away.

When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.

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How to Write the Perfect Quote You work hard to generate leads. Whether potential customers contact you by phone, through websites like Angie’s List, or through a customer referral, when you are talking to a lead you want to make sure you get the job! A good writing quote can give me goosebumps. For those days when the well is feeling dry and a tad echo-y, I keep a running list of my favorite quotes—things I’ve read, things I’ve edited, things I’ve found in the WD archives, things people have said to me in interviews. Such tiny, perfect.

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