No Box of Kittens

You have to know human behaviour … And the quality of your writing is absolutely capped at your understanding of human behaviour. You’ll never write above what you know about people.

Tony Gilroy (BAFTA/BFI Screenwriters Lecture)

(Source: jamesgrantbrown, via writeworld)

Well, too often us writers have in our head some “perfect sphere” like, “My character is a lawyer.” But then we need this character to say something lawyerly, and suddenly we have to ask ourselves, what kind of lawyer? A trial lawyer? Does she do conveyancing? Bankruptcy? Intellectual property? Taxes? Human rights? There are about 3,000 kinds of lawyers. (Fun fact: there are also 3,000 varieties of pears. That’s right. Even PEARS are more complicated than you thought!) And even though the kind of lawyer may not be essential to the plot, if we simply blow past this moment without a decision and a little bit of research, the world of our novel will start to feel flat, less interesting than the real world.

—Scott Westerfeld (via writingquotes)

If you write just about one type of person, not only is that boring, not only does that deprive people of other points of view, it is also just false. It’s not what the world looks like. You should try to write about the world that’s there, because that’s the interesting one.

Joseph Fink, who’s p good at writing, I think. (from this week’s Philadelphia Weekly)

Yes. This.

(via ljcohen)

(Source: happierman, via writeworld)

Anonymous asked: I believe that writing is the healthiest form of art because it requires you to pay attention. You do not get to squeeze the juice out of the thing unless you are actively engaged with the words. With paintings and movies (which are wonderful), you can rest your brain if you like and let them be shown to you. With reading, however, you are the one that brings the book to life, so your mind must be truly alive.

Writers have big egos. That’s the only way you continue in the face of all those rejection slips. You’ve got a thick skin and you don’t bleed maybe as much because of it. When somebody sends back a story and says, “I’m sending this back because the characterization seems wrong to me and it seems like you’ve gone off the rails at Points A and B,” you file the rejection slip….
You read the rejections, the personal letters that explain why they didn’t take the story, although they might say something good about it and part of you inside says, “Well, they were wrong.” Also, if you read a lot of stuff and you know in your heart that you write better than some of the crap that comes out you say, “Well, if I’m doing better than this and this is published, then it’s just a question of continuing to flog the things around until they find a home.

—Stephen King (via writingquotes)