Brain Pickings made a New Year’s resolution to read more books and write better. They’ve been posting all kinds of interesting writerly and readerly advice.
For half a year they’ve been doing a heck of a job summing up Vonnegut on penning a short story, writing rules from Kerouac, Steinbeck, and Ogilvy, Ray Bradbury and Ernest Heminway’s thoughts on how stupid symbolism is. There’s something for everyone, even if you’re anti-advice. Here’s Steinbeck’s advice about the futility of advice:
“If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that makes a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story.”