Friday, 26 September 2014

John Steinbeck - Six Tips on Writing

John Steinbeck was an American author. He is best known for The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men. Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

The following six tips on writing were culled from an interview published in the Fall 1975 issue of The Paris Review.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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



1 comment:

Kathy Smart said...

This looks like the source of much advice I read daily.

These tips are still as current (and difficult to apply) as they were 40 years ago.