Letters to A Young Writer

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Your Last Line

Gogol said that the last line of every story was: “And nothing would ever be the same again.” Nothing in life ever really begins in one single place, and nothing ever truly ends. The last line of your story should be the first of your next. But stories have at least to pretend to finish.…

Your First Line

A first line should open up your ribcage. It should suggest that the world will never be the same again. It should be active. Plunge your reader into something urgent, interesting, informative. It should move your story, your poem, your play, forward. It should whisper in your ear that everything is about to change. Assure…

Don’t Write What You Know

Don’t write about what you know, write towards what you want to know. Step out of your skin. Adventure in the elsewhere. This opens up the world. Go to another place. Investigate what lies beyond your curtains, beyond the wall, beyond the street corner, beyond your town, beyond your country even. A young writer is…

Read Aloud

Read aloud. Walk around your house and read your way through the ceiling. Ceilings are boring. The sky is more interesting. Read outwards. Have a conversation with what you write. Be prepared to risk the embarrassment.

Letter to a Young Writer

Do the things that do not compute. Be earnest. Be devoted. Be subversive of ease. Read aloud. Risk yourself. Do not be afraid of sentiment even when others call it sentimentality.