Thursday, 21 October 2010

Advice for Writers

 I like this comment I read the other day, from a writer I've never heard of:
"Being a writer means having homework every evening for the rest of your life."

The one I'm less sure about is the remark by Jonathan Franzen that the one word no-one should ever use when writing is 'then'.

Is he right? Sometimes I think he is; then I change my mind.


  1. From what I've heard from people I respect Franzen is a mediocre writer (I'm happy to take their word for it as I can't face reading one of his books). He also seems a dick.

    If one checks a favourite and, I think, indisputably good novel, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, for 'thens' you'll find over a hundred.

  2. Too cheeky! What a silly thing for Franzen to say, really. What was he thinking.

  3. I suppose what he meant was to avoid the schoolchild's 'Then I went there and then I did x and then y said' etc.

    But yes he does seem a bit of a dick.

  4. I think he's good. He was probably taken out of context on this, but it's the kind of thing, like a silly tune, that gets stuck in my mind and I can't stop trying to make sense of.

  5. Now then, Nurse, settle down

  6. I've now started reading Freedom and it's littered with 'then', so he must have been misquoted.