Writing Advice from Classic Authors

How to Create Memorable Characters (with Inspiration from Classic Novels)

Characters are the lifeblood of your creative writing, and you want them to power your stories to the end. Here you’ll find some actionable tips on how to create memorable characters for your fictional works, with a few case studies of famous literary heroines to guide and inspire you.

While the world you create in your fictional works is important, readers are more likely to remember the characters that populate it. Indeed, a well-developed central character (or characters) will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the final page.

Strong characters are a must if you want people to stay invested in your story! After all, if readers don’t care about the characters themselves, why should they care what those characters do or say? Read More→

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This is My Story: How to Write a Memoir (and Get it Published)

You have a great idea for a memoir, but you don’t know where to start or what to do next. There are so many options for book publishing, and no one seems to agree on the best way to go about it. Here’s some simple and sound advice on how to write a memoir, and the steps to take to get it published.

This guide will help you overcome the main obstacles and show you how to get your memoir published and in the hands of an audience who wants to read it.

Though memoir writing is a specific genre unto itself, writers who have produced well-known memoirs (some of which have become classics) are also known as novelists, short story writers, and poets. Here are some of the classic authors on this site who have at least one memoir to their credit. Read More→

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5 Romantic Fanfiction Tropes We Can Thank Jane Austen For

Not many authors are favored by serious literary scholars and casual readers alike, but Jane Austen is one of the chosen few. Writers continue to be inspired as well, as evidenced by the romantic fanfiction tropes we’ll explore here.

Many have pondered what makes Austen’s oeuvre so beloved by so many; personally, I think a huge part of her enduring relevance is that she popularized a number of classic tropes that we still see and love today, in everything from the erotic novellas of Anaïs Nin to everyone’s favorite rom-coms like Clueless.

You’ll also spot Austen in the more obscure corners of the internet, particularly in fandom. Both Austen titles and fanfiction are known for their romantic plots and protagonists who are set on finding true love — or just as often, those who have it thrust upon them unexpectedly. Read More→

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Octavia Butler’s Rules for Writers: Wisdom for Every Stage of Practice

Octavia E. Butler (1947 – 2006), the esteemed American author of science fiction, blazed a trail in what was once a white male-dominated genre.  Here we’ll explore Octavia Butler’s rules for writers, with wisdom for every wordsmith no matter where you are on the journey.

Butler was one of the first women and one of the first African Americans to succeed in the genre of sci-fi. To break through in this realm, she had to blaze her own trail, and became rigorously self-disciplined in her writing practice.

She stuck to a strict schedule, sometimes rising at 2:00 am to write for several hours before heading out to whatever odd job she held before becoming a full-time author. Read More→

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Madeleine L’Engle’s Long Years of Literary Rejection

Pairing Madeleine L’Engle‘s young adult novel A Wrinkle in Time together with the concept of literary rejection might seem odd, given its iconic stature. But I would challenge anyone to come up with a story that better illustrates the fine line between rejection and acceptance than hers: 

A Wrinkle in Time was almost never published. You can’t name a major publisher who didn’t reject it. When we’d run through forty-odd publishers, my agent sent it back. We gave up.”

Most editors thought it was too dark and complex for children. After some time, L’Engle made contact with John Farrar of Farrar Straus Giroux through a friend, and the rest is publishing history. Read More→

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