cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

Nearly finished? {2} Timothy Hallinan’s writer’s resources

“Advice is like manure. You need to use it sparingly and consider the source.”

— Dolores Feldon

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

— Pablo Picasso

At first I thought I was going to be irritated by lists of how to do it. Now I see there are lots of quotes and references to other writers, I’m much happier. And, yes, just a moment ago I saw the name Raymond Chandler on one page. So, hopefully, there’s going to be that quote (paraphrased here by me as): “There’s nothing quite so sad as an almost writer.” Something like that. Well, no, probably not: Tim’s trying to encourage writing not put us off for good.


Part 2: Getting started / 2. Work Habits:

The writer with the most impressive work ethic was probably Anthony Trollope, a contemporary of Dickens’ who is one of my favorite novelists in the world. Trollope wrote by the clock day in and day out, wherever in the world he was. He set up that clock and wrote at home, in hotels, at his club, on the road, in his cabin on ships, and for all I know, while he was visiting America, on a stage coach. When the time was up, he quit. Here’s the part that got my attention. If he had, say, eleven minutes left on the clock, and he had just finished a novel, he didn’t sit back and enjoy a celebratory cup of tea – he started a new novel. Eleven minutes later, he quit for the day. (By the way, Trollope wrote some 45 novels.)

I was wondering whether to leave the parenthesis at the end out.

February 18, 2008 - Posted by | Writing | , ,


  1. Um, I’m not sure I like Trollope. And mostly, I am not sure what worked for Trollope would work for the rest of us.

    Comment by damyantig | February 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hi Damyanti,

    Just my English joke. Was tickled by the idea of someone using up the last 7 mins. to start a new novel. The likelihood of someone immediately starting a new novel having just almost died completing one, seems highly unlikely. Opening the cooking sherry much more likely. It makes you want to check that quote out doesn’t it? I think I might try ogle in Google myself(always a good displacement activity if you are desperate not to start that story you felt you had in you on waking bright and breezy.)

    I’m into ironic effects: you know the old thing, “Don’t think of Pink Elephants.” Reading these helpful tips for budding writers makes me think along those lines.

    Checked your sites: maybe ironic effect might be an idea for a short story. {There is a link which you can find to one or other of the Wegner ironic effects papers in my category list. Might help…)

    A recent programme on TV progamme showed how if someone was asked to memorise a shopping list then go into the shop to buy the items, if they were told, “Remember, please don’t buy eggs or milk”, the score for correct items bought went right down compared with no reminder control.

    All you need is a situation involving this kind of thing…..there was a standard weekly skit on a comedy show in the UK where woman asks husband to buy a few specific items, but each week he comes back with none of them, but a set of others to which he gives long-winded explanations about why he thought it such a good idea buying them (Two for one, “I thought a box of candles would come in handy”,etc.

    There I’ve almost written the story for you! 🙂


    Comment by adferoafferro | February 18, 2008 | Reply

  3. Thanks for the reply,I meant my reply on an ironic note as well!

    And now I know you commented on my blogspot blog:). Was wondering what I was missing!

    Comment by damyantig | February 18, 2008 | Reply

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