Writing Advice from Classic Authors

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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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. 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’re for anyone needing a dose of inspiration and advice for their writing lives.

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 — and their advice on writing also applies to many life situations as well.

In the end, it’s not so much about facing obstacles that matters — everyone experiences bumps in the road — but overcoming them with grace and courage.

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. Read More→


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