Tips for Aspiring Fiction Writers


blind date

  1. Marry someone rich.
  1. The secret is making readers care about your characters — whether they love or hate them. I suggest rather than making characters up “out of whole cloth,”[1] you should base them on celebrities. For example, let’s say you want to write about a gay/straight-double-blind-date-from-hell. Throw together a Charlie Sheen character dating an Ann Coulter character who are setting up a Scott Baio character with a Chris Hayes protagonist.[2] [See above illustration]
  1. Life is a cliché; don’t avoid clichés (unless you’re writing porn).
  1. Speaking of porn, don’t describe sex scenes unless you’re writing erotica, and if you’re writing erotica, you’re even more obsolescent than Henry Miller’s typewriter. Why read Tropic of Cancer when you can watch Ultra Kinky 79 on your computer?
  1. Be careful with the point-of-view. Even stupid readers can sometimes detect point-of-view violations, and they’ll mock you in a way you don’t want a stupid person mocking you.
  1. There’s a only a two lane highway between being ungrammatical and stiffly precise. Go ahead, split infinitives, go with the vernacular, but don’t dangle those goddamned modifiers, like, like, “While watching Ultra Kinky 79, the pizza burned.”
  1. When you receive rejection slips, just remember that what you wrote probably sucks even more than the tripe you can’t believe gets published, like the flat unmusical navel-gaze of the typical New Yorker poem. [3]
  1. If you’re a dedicated teacher, you’re not going to have time write fiction (see tip #1).
  1. Don’t go out and live an exciting Hemingway-like life.   Rather, like Flannery O’Connor, pay attention in the waiting room.
  1. Marry someone rich.


[1] If you don’t know this phrase it means you don’t read nearly enough.

[2] If you don’t know who Chris Hayes is, you’re not well-informed enough.

[3] Beware of bitterness.




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