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Ten Tips to Help Aspiring Writers Stretch Their Fiction

Some very good advice for writers of all types. Especially for those who don’t think they should call themselves a writer: see #10.

Chris Bohjalian's Idyll Banter

I’m asked on occasion what advice I might offer aspiring writers. Here are ten random suggesstions — the last a reference to the fact I was told by a creative writing professor when I was in college that I should become a banker.
1) Don’t merely write what you know. Write what you don’t know. It might be more difficult at first, but – unless you’ve just scaled Mount Everest or found a cure for all cancers – it will also be more interesting.
2) Do some research. Read the letters John Winthrop wrote to his wife, or the letters a Civil War private sent home to his family from Antietam, or the stories the metalworkers told of their experiences on the girders high in the air when they were building the Empire State Building. Good fiction is rich with minutiae – what people wore, how they cooked, how they…

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