I mention them today because twice this week, authors there have mentioned meeting or learning from Ray Bradbury. While I'm super jealous that I never had the opportunity to meet Bradbury, we fortunately live in an age where the internet allows ready access to videos and interviews.
Below is a great video of Bradbury. In this talk, as in many interviews and his own book Zen in the Art of Writing, Bradbury offers 12 useful tips to writers which are summarized below the clip:
1) Don't start out writing novels because they take too long. Instead, start with short stories. Write at least one a week for about a year. He says it isn't possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.
2) Don't purposely imitate your favorites. You have to write until you find your own voice so the story doesn't ring false for the readers.
3) Do, however, continue to read and examine the work of those quality authors. He suggests the short stories of Roald Dahl, Guy de Maupassant, Nigel Kneale, and John Collier.
4) Stuff your head with bedtime reading. He suggests reading the classical short stories and poems of Shakespeare, Pope, and Frost before falling asleep.
5) Get rid of relationships with unbelievers. If they laugh at you, or make fun of your ambitions, Bradbury suggests you call them up and "fire them" from your life.
6) Live in the books, not computers. He may not have gone to college, but his love of libraries and reading helped him to become one of America's most celebrated authors.
7) Fall in love with movies. He prefers the old ones.
8) Write with joy. He says if a story starts to feel like work "scrap it and start a new one."
9) Don't plan on making money. He and his wife took a "vow of poverty". He never worried about how much he could make off a creation.
10) List ten things you love and ten things you hate. Then write about the former, and "kill" the latter.
11) Just type whatever comes into your head. You never know what works until you freely put it all down and test it.
12) Remember, if you can ever get just one person to come and say "I love your work," then you are a success.
Are you a fan of Bradbury? What do you think of his 12 tips?