Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jane Austen's Top Writing Tips

I've a piece in today's Sydney Morning Herald, 'Reality she wrote: Austen's top tips'. I'm briefly discussing what I've learned from the marvellous Jane Austen. A taster:
To those who have not bought a book this year, these gems may be wasted - if you do not read, you probably cannot write (Nietzsche be damned).

For everyone else who desires the literary life, take a pinch of wisdom from Aunt Jane: be patient, get on with it, think of your readers, and take inspiration from your life. Oh, and read a book every now and then. I recommend an English author by the name of Austen.


Gondal-girl said...

great article Damon and good advice

Damon said...

Thanks, GG. I wasn't told it'd been picked up, so it was a pleasant surprise to see it this morning.

(Complete with the Nietzsche quote from my signature - not part of the article!)

Shaylen Maxwell said...

Be patient, YUP (too patient)
get on with it, YUP
think of your readers, . . .
and take inspiration from your life. YUP
Oh, and read a book every now and then. YUPPERS!

So the reason I am not successful is because I haven't thought much about my readers. Ah well, at least I'm enjoying my own fiction. That's something. : )

Damon said...

Well, it's vital to enjoy your own work - otherwise it can leave you cynical or just plain crap! (You don't sound like you're either of these.)

Still, the readers matter - to me, at least. Don't you have an impulse, some physiological drive, to share? And to be gratified by what's shared in return?

I certainly think Austen did. And I do.

Kirsty Murray said...

Loved the article, Damon. And I agree readers do matter but they are not an homogenous group. I love a bit of juicy praise and have had my share but I've finally got to the point where I no longer expect everyone to like what I produce. One 13-year old boy who was forced to read one of my books as a set text told me he hated it so much he wanted to 'set the book and fire and piss on it'. Ahh, readers, don't you just love them!

Damon said...

Yes, good point.

I wasn't suggesting that all readers will heap praise on my books. Only that what's been most surprising and gratifying for me has been the impressions of friends, and general readers.

I do blame some of my early aversions on being forced to read books in high school. Luckily, I overcame them. "Let us go then, you and I..."