The Mark Blog

Bookmark This: Faulkner's Best Writing Advice

Bookmark this Huffington Post list of William Faulkner's best writing advice. Here are a few of our favorites:

1. Writing is not about the author, but the product.
Faulkner said in an interview with Paris Review:

"If I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoyevsky, all of us. Proof of that is that there are about three candidates for the authorship of Shakespeare's plays. But what is important is Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream, not who wrote them, but that somebody did."

2. There's nothing wrong with borrowing.
In a lecture to a writing class, Faulkner said the following:

"I think the writer, as I’ve said before, is completely amoral. He takes whatever he needs, wherever he needs, and he does that openly and honestly because he himself hopes that what he does will be good enough so that after him people will take from him, and they are welcome to take from him, as he feels that he would be welcome by the best of his predecessors to take what they had done."

3. The best writers are insatiable.
In the same Paris Review interview, the author remarked rather boldly:

"Ninety-nine percent talent... ninety-nine percent discipline... ninety-nine percent work. He must never be satisfied with what he does. It never is as good as it can be done. Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."

Click here for the full list.