1. (pg 57; para 7) when you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. when you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.
2. (pg 119; para 3) use the adverb in dialogue attribution only in the rarest and most special of occasions and not even then, if you can avoid it. remember that, while to write adverbs is human, to write he said or she said is divine.
3. (pg 129; para 1) the object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story … to make him/her forget, whenever possible, that he/she is reading a story at all. The single-sentence paragraph more closely resembles talk than writing, and that’s good.
4. (pg 139; para 4) being swept away by a combination of great story and great writing—of being flattened, in fact—is part of every writer’s necessary formation. You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.
5. (pg 162; para 3) A strong enough situation renders the whole question of plot moot, which is fine with me. The most interesting situations can usually be expressed as a What-if question
6. (pg 137; para 2) There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement guy.