Writing Advice from Classic Authors

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. Here we’ll explore how three classic authors approached the question of developing characters in fiction, followed by some contemporary resources.

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. Read More→


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10 Books on Writing by Women Authors — 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 classic women authors like  Charlotte Brontë, George Sand, Louisa May Alcott, and others did, as well.

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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How Important Is Solitude for Writers?

Virginia Woolf famously wrote, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Leaving aside the question of what a woman writes—fiction or nonfiction, prose or poetry, journalism or blog posts, just how important is solitude for writers? How critical is it to have a room of one’s own?

In learning about the writing lives of classic women authors, the universality of the issues and struggles all writers experience is striking. Finding quiet time to write and a modicum of privacy was as great a challenge in the 19th century as it is for today’s writing women. Read More→


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10 Inspiring Thoughts on Writing by Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty (1909 – 2001), the respected Southern American author, was known for her ability to capture a sense of place in her novels, stories, and memoirs. Her work explores the separateness of individuals, the character of communities, family relationships, and the healing potential of love.

Welty’s writing style varied, but with no doubt ever that she was in command of her craft. Her stories and novels can be seen as quaint and understated or else wonderfully strange and funny. Here are some inspiring thoughts on writing by Eudora Welty (most, fittingly, from her 2002 book On Writing), sure to encourage writers no matter where they are on their journeys. Read More→


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