John Steinbeck’s 6 tips for writing

It’s been a while since a post on writing. These are Steinbeck’s six rules – taken from Berfrois.

1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be… an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.

3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.

5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.

6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

This entry was posted in Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to John Steinbeck’s 6 tips for writing

  1. Interesting advice — but there was another side to Steinbeck: http://geographicalimaginations.com/2013/01/30/of-bombs-and-men/

    Derek

    • stuartelden says:

      Good point – and a great post. I was more interested in process or form rather than content of course.

  2. Chathan says:

    Nice post but Steinbeck as a writer of fiction could be incredibly dull! And I concur with Derek Gregory regarding his “other side”.

  3. Pingback: John Steinbeck’s writing tips | Thinking culture

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s