If you’ve ever dreamed of being able to write as good as Ernest Hemingway or Agatha Christie, there’s a way to make your dream come true. We’ve gathered some of the most helpful tips famous authors can give you in this post. You’ll get to know why it’s important to read your material out loud and how to invent your own genre. Find the unique style of writing using the new techniques and exciting secrets of your beloved authors.
Famous works: Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
- Tip1: Use your hobbies and interests
Agatha Christie had a great interest in archeology and often used this theme in her works. She visited numerous archeological sites, and this experience gave her an opportunity to describe them with high accuracy and great detail. You may find some of these examples depicted in the following novels: Death on the Nile, Murder in Mesopotamia, They came to Baghdad.
- Tip2: Don’t be afraid of experiments
You don’t need to obey the common rules and features every particular genre has. Don’t be afraid to invent something nobody else has thought of. Christie, for example, was a pioneer in using the double-plot approach and had a great success.
Famous works: Lolita, Ada, Transparent things, Pale Fire
- Tip1: Read out loud what you’ve written
Famous Russian novelist is known for his devotion to play with words, choose them thoroughly and use alliteration. Sometimes Nabokov could even take his attention away from the plot and spend hours in attempt to select the right words and build up the phrase which would satisfy him. It may seem rather excessive, but you should always remember that your readers will appreciate not only the twisted plot or interesting characters, but also the language techniques you use.
- Tip2: Write scenes without minding their order
Nabokov did his writing on index cards. It gave him freedom of writing the scenes in no particular order as he could reorganize them afterwards. It may be very useful when you have a writer’s block in terms of one particular part, so that you could move on to another one.
Famous works: A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises
- Tip1: Learn how to tell the truth
Hemingway was not only a brilliant writer, but also a fantastic journalist. He spent many years mastering the skill of writing in a simple, yet breathtaking manner. He called his style the “iceberg theory”: you get all the facts, but the art of telling them remains to be unseen. Try using this technique when writing about the events which took place in reality.
- Tip2: Be your own objective critic
Ernest Hemingway was very hard on himself when it came to writing. He wrote in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934: “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.” But don’t overdo it; otherwise you risk to be left with no material whatsoever.
Famous works: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, In Cold Blood
- Tip1: Become a good observer
Most of Capote’s works feature deep insight of human psychology and brilliantly composed dialogues. You will never be able to master this technique without obtaining good observational skills. In order for your dialogue to sound natural, vibrant and colorful you need to notice the way people talk in the real life.
- Tip2: Invent your own genre
Truman Capote created a new literary genre – nonfiction novel – when he wrote his famous novel called In Cold Blood. It is a combination of true story and mastery composed fictional elements. Why not try to do something similar?
Famous works: The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August
- Tip: Don’t be afraid to use complex sentence structures
William Faulkner can teach you to understand the importance of building long sentences and vivid reasoning. He often used “stream of consciousness” in order for a reader to better understand the complexity of a fictional character’s inner world, be able to analyze his psychology.
Famous works: Ulysses, Finnegans Wake, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
- Tip1: Use multiple meanings of the words to your advantage
Ulysses is a great example of how the great amount of meanings of the same word or expression can turn your work into a breathtaking riddle. It’s a wonder of author’s delicate workmanship to build his narrative on several levels, and a true pleasure for a reader to discover each of them.
- Tip2: Enlarge your vocabulary
Joyce is known for his wide vocabulary, which is a real treasure trove for any author. Reading might serve you well on the way to this kind of self-improvement.
Famous works: The Metamorphosis, The Trial
- Tip: Extraordinary combinations work well
Kafka is thought to be a controversial writer due to his unusual and surreal style of writing. He used the most improbable situations for describing very ordinary things, like people’s feelings and surrounding environment. Try adding something similar to your works.
Famous works: On the Road, The Dharma Bums
- Tip: Try the spontaneous writing method
Writing spontaneously and without doing any editing work seems to be absurd. Nevertheless, this approach led Kerouac to great success.
Famous works: The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters
- Tip: Master the art of writing short stories
Chekhov’s talent of writing short stories is indisputable. Telling a story in a concise way, yet evoking real emotions in a reader is worth to be admired and aspired for. You have to be an expert of human soul and be able to explain every character’s feelings to the readers without using much of description techniques. It’s hard work, but it’s worth trying.
Famous works: Man and Superman, Pygmalion, The Doctor’s Dilemma
- Tip: Write about contemporary problems
Shaw often depicted some of the contemporary moral issues in his brilliant and witty works. He used irony and sarcasm to underline their importance and often offered a solution to the existing problems. Remember that almost nothing will get a reader’s attention except for the things she/he’s experiencing at the moment.