Advice From the Archives

In September 1961, the editors of Writer's Digest asked a handful of the world's greatest writers the following question: "What advice would you offer a person who aspires to a writing career?" Their answers follow:
Author:
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AN INTERVIEW WITH HEMINGWAY
In December 1964, Edward Stafford provided Writer's Digest with an interview conducted with Ernest Hemingway shortly before the author's death in 1961. It's excerpted here for the first time in more than 40 years. Please note that the excerpt has been abridged due to space considerations:
AN AFTERNOON WITH HEMINGWAY. LITERARY LEGENDS
What's old in writing advice seems new again, as one writer discovered on his trip back in time through the Writer's Digest archives: Literary Legends by Phil Sexton

"Study the writers' magazines and pound hell out of the typewriter."
—Erle Stanley Gardner

"Sorry—if I had any advice to give I'd take it myself."
—John Steinbeck

"The new writer should observe, listen, look ? and then write. Nothing begets better writing than the simple process of writing."
—Rod Serling

"The beginning writer needs talent, application and aspirin. If he wants to write just to make money, he is not a writer."
—James Thurber

"Beware of advice—even this."
—Carl Sandburg

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Your Story #112

Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt below. (One sentence only.) You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

Self-Published Ebook Awards

Announcing the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards! Discover the titles that placed in the categories of contemporary fiction, fantasy, memoir, mystery, and more.

Greg Russo: On Writing a Film Based on a Video Game

Greg Russo: On Writing a Screenplay Based on a Video Game

Professional screenwriter Greg Russo discusses the joy and challenge of converting a popular video games series into a screenplay and the balance of enticing a new audience while honoring a franchise's fans.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a city poem.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character fall under the influence of something or someone.

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Suspended: Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards Winner

Congratulations to J.E. Stamper, grand prize winner of the Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards. Here's his winning essay, "Suspended."

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Want to know how to keep your readers engaged and entertained with your mystery novel? Let these six tips from thriller author Kris Calvin guide you!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 15

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a blank story poem.

Kristin Beck: On Writing Quickly and Publishing Slowly

Kristin Beck: On Writing Quickly and Publishing Slowly

Debut novelist Kristin Beck shares what it was like to write her historical fiction novel Courage, My Love and why she was so thankful for a slow publishing process.