Monday, February 12, 2007

The Truth About Writing

An excellent book on writing, not the mechanics of putting words on paper, but of the process, is available as a free download at:

The Truth About Writing by Michael Allen

It's a large file, so if you don't have a high-speed connection consider yourself warned.

Here are some of the bon mots from the last chapter of the book, just to pique your curiosity. This is from the final chapter of the book.

ALLEN’S AXIOMS – lest you forget

WRITING IS AN activity which can seriously damage your health.

As far as income is concerned, most writers would be better off working behind the bar in their local pub.

The desire for fame should be sufficient, in and of itself, to get you sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Serious literary criticism is written in a language called litbabble, which is a form of postmodern, deconstructed gobbledygook. Its practical value, in terms of helping you to write a better novel, is nil.

Unsolicited submissions, from writers who are not represented by an agent, are accorded the same degree of respect as would be given to something left on the publisher’s doorstep by a dog with diarrhoea.

Without writers there are no books.

Without books there is no publishing.

Without publishing there is no free lunch.

The so-called advance is actually a retrospective.

Most publishers can recognise a bestseller, but only when it was published two years earlier and they have the sales figures in front of them.

Publishing depends, for its continuance, upon a ceaseless flow of mugs, suckers, and assorted halfwits who are prepared to work for a year or more without any serious
prospect of remuneration.

Properly understood, the role of writer is analogous to that of healer. It follows therefore that writing is both a moral activity and an honourable one. But keep this knowledge to yourself, otherwise you will seem horribly pompous.

The degree of success experienced by a writer will vary according to circumstance, and the definition of circumstance is everything that the writer cannot control, or even influence.

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