Writing Advice from Classic Authors

Madeleine L’Engle: “A Wrinkle in Time Was Almost Never Published”

I would challenge anyone to come up with a story that better illustrates the fine line between rejection and acceptance than Madeleine L’Engle’s: “A Wrinkle in Time was almost never published,” she wrote. “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 too dark and complex for children.

After some time, L’Engle made contact with John Farrar of Farrar Straus Giroux through a friend of her mother’s, and the rest is publishing history. Published in 1962, A Wrinkle in Time is still in print, with millions of copies sold worldwide. It has the distinction of having won some of the most prestigious publishing awards, as well as being one of the most frequently banned books of all time. Read More→


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How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing — Tips & Strategies

What is it about writers and procrastination? Here we’ll look at some tips from writers past and present to help you stop procrastinating and start writing! We’ll also take a look at the reasons why procrastination can loom large when taking pen to paper, or more likely, fingers to the keyboard. Do the following sound familiar?

  • You tell yourself that you don’t have enough time today, or you’re too distracted, so you talk yourself out of doing any writing at all. Why torture yourself today when you can put it off until tomorrow? Read More→

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Classic and Contemporary Tips for Developing Characters in Fiction

The heart of any compelling story or novel is its characters. Without memorable characters, a story will fall flat and the reader won’t care. Characters don’t need to be good or even sympathetic, but they do need to be driven by their beliefs and motivations to create a strong narrative arc, and to create and resolve conflict.

If you don’t know where to begin, you may appreciate these tips for developing characters in fiction (from classic and contemporary writers) First, let’s see how three classic authors approached the question of developing characters: Read More→


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10 Books on Writing by Women Writers — for Everyone

Here are 10 books on writing by women writers — informative, instructive, and inspiring. They’re not necessarily written by women for women — in other words, they contain no bias toward any gender.  But, since these books are written from women’s perspectives, that ensures plenty of compassion, patience, and even humor. If you like this post, you may enjoy exploring our treasure trove of writing advice from classic women authors.

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12 Classic Women Authors, 12 Lessons for the Writing Life

Learning how to stay disciplined, grappling with doubt, failure, and rejection, finding one’s voice, struggling to stay solvent—we’ve all dealt with these issues. It’s comforting to know that Charlotte Brontë, George Sand, Louisa May Alcott, and others did, as well. But in the end, it’s not so much about experiencing these obstacles that matters, but overcoming them.

While researching The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life, I delved into the letters, journals, and memoirs of classic women authors. I found that certain challenges were just as universal among those who eventually became literary icons as they are among today’s writing women, whether seasoned or aspiring.

Here are twelve nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from each of the twelve classic women authors I’ve grown to know and admire. Read More→


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