Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by hour. Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty, study thoughtfully but write boldly. Then, like the hero of the fable, your dance will dazzle the world.

ROBERT McKEE

You learn the most from sitting down and doing the work, regularly, patiently, sometimes in hope, sometimes despairingly. When you have something that seems complete, show your work to people you trust to be honest but not malicious. Put it aside for six months and reread it. Expect to be disgusted by your own early work. If writing is your vocation, if you hope that it might be your salvation, push on through the disgust until you find one true sentence, a few words that say more than you expected, something you didn’t know until you set it down.

– NAOMI ALDERMAN

Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

– WILLIAM STRUNK, JR. and E.B. WHITE

With the World on Fire

I’m finding it hard to write fiction when the future of the whole world is so uncertain.The Syria thing, the corruption thing, the election thing… all the result of games by madmen. Real life madmen, power brokers whose currency is world policies and who drag in their wake the lives of billions. Quite distracting. Like my moral sensors are bleating an incessant warning. “Do something”, they say. “We need to save the world from the madness.”

I wonder how fiction writers of the 40’s did it, what with WWII raging. Perhaps that’s why sci-fi became so popular – an off-world escape was probably the sure ticket for writers and readers alike. I find my fiction leaning towards the theme of confronting the world and its problems. Dislodging the firm grip that the corrupt elite have on the inner workings of man. Revealing secrets. Restoring equilibrium and thus sanity. But it has to be entertaining.

So I’m trying save the world in an entertaining way. That’s what I’m finding hard to do, given that the real world is on fire.