10 Best Writers Who Ever Lived
Compiling a list of the history's ten best writers is like skating on a heated swimming pool. Just when you get started, you find yourself in hot water.
The reason is: writing's completely subjective. What interests you may not interest me. We all read for different reasons.
But, here ? in no particular order -- is another list of the world's top wordsmiths:
1. Aesop ? Around 600 B.C. this Greek slave began to chronicle fables from around the world. His stories ? like the one about the tortoise and hare ? gave animals human qualities, and illustrated critical life lessons.
2. Aristophanes ? Reportedly the first comedy writer, back in 400 B.C. He combined plays with song and repetition to provide entertainment for ancient Greeks.
3. Socrates ? A contemporary of Aristophanes, he was likely history's first "self-help" writer. He taught people to seek ultimate truths by questioning conventional wisdom and examining their own beliefs. He said folks shouldn't accept opinion as fact.
4. Sophocles ? Another guy with no last name. He created plays that usually centered on a single heroic character who chose an unpopular course of action.
5. William Shakespeare ? This brilliant author's plays and phrases will live forever. If historians ever prove a theory that he was a composite of three dramatists, the list of "top ten" authors will immediately expand to 12.
6. Benjamin Franklin ? This multi-talented American championed succinct writing, and his epigrams became part of our national heritage. Ben warned, "He that speaks much is much mistaken."
7. Abraham Lincoln ? Sure, he nearly always heads the list of "best Presidents." But this Illinois native crafted some of this country's finest speeches, including the Gettysburg Address.
8. Mark Twain ? He's been called America's finest author because he wrote in American dialect, using phrases and speech unique to the United States. He punctured pompous prose, and laced his stories with regional references.
9. Winston Churchill/Franklin Roosevelt ? These Allied leaders led their countries through World War II, and their vivid words inspired millions.
10. You or me? ? Who knows? There's an old saying that "there's always room at the top." Good writing can change minds, and great writing can change the world.
Rix Quinn wrote "Words That Stick: A Guide to Short Writing with Big Impact." It's a writing book to help people who hate to write... and it's available from your local bookstore, or from Amazon.com.
He speaks frequently to education and business groups, and may be contacted at his office, phone 817-920-7999.
Advice for New Writers
With the advent of email communications in the workplace, it's not uncommon to exchange dozens of messages daily. Sometimes, I sense a writer's "voice" in such messages. Occasionally, I ask if they've done any writing. A year ago, a colleague answered, "I loved to write in high school, but I just don't have time anymore! " She was extraordinarily busy, mothering an active two-year-old, commuting over an hour a day, managing the house, and holding a full-time managerial job. In spite of the fact that I knew she was overloaded, I sensed a unique talent in her words and didn't hesitate to encourage her.
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He ran up the steps and knocked on the door. After a few moments, it was opened by a woman with dark curly hair and a strained expression.What you've just read are two simple sentences showing a common situation. So common that the author very probably has not given a thought as to whether her words reflect what really happened.
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1) Can you summarize the story in about a sentence or two?
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Around eighty percent of nonfiction books today are written by "experts," that is people who have a) earned credentials in the field they're writing about, b) germinated information via articles, live presentations or other media, or c) had extraordinary, unique or memorably told life experiences relevant to their topic.
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A writer writes. Bet you've heard that one before. Or maybe this one: if you want to be a writer, first you write one word, then you write the next.Both of these old clichés are true, of course. That's how they turned into clichés. But there's another dilemma a beginning creative writer often finds himself facing: do I write short stories or novels? Writing novels is almost always the end goal. You'll find exceptions---such as Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison, who primary built their careers writing short stories---but the vast majority of successful storytellers are novelists.The real question then is this: do I jump into novel writing with both feet or do I test the waters first by writing short stories? Generally, beginning writers don't understand that these are two very different forms. They see writing a short story as easier, less intimidating. At a cursory glance, it's hard to argue with that. But if you ask a writer successful in both forms, he'll almost always tell you that short stories pose a much more difficult task.Why?Because you're working on a small canvas. The novel is a wall mural. It's expansive. You have time to fully develop your characters. There's room for movement, for growth and change, for surprises and insights, for looking back as well as looking forward. The short story is an 8x10 landscape. It's a moment in time when your character faces a critical point in his or her existence, a moment that changes everything. In a glimpse, readers must believe in your characters, in the crisis they face, in the choices they make. It's a tiny, one-dimensional surface that must appear three-dimensional.With that understanding, starting out writing short stories can still be a good proving ground for a writer. You learn quickly what works and what doesn't. You learn to write tight, to pack as much meat into as few words as possible. You learn to capture the core make up of your characters. All very valuable lessons for both the short story writer and the novelist.
Story Building with Imagination
In the words of Aristotle, "happiness is self contentedness helping to make children deeply and quietly glad that they are who they are, and gives them a priceless legacy: the strength to meet life's stresses and the courage to become committed, responsible, productive, creative, and fully human adults... Helping a child is the greatest gift you can give in the language of the human heart. It spells love in the most profound way."
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Whether you are writing a magazine article, composing a press release, or editing the sales copy on your website, the end goal is always the same - to influence the thinking, and probably actions, of other human beings. To do that, your writing must instill confidence in a mind that is inclined to doubt you.
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Your struggling to sell just a few copies of your book, ebook,report or other information-based product each month?
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The dash--that curious mark of punctuation people use in their email and letters. Not the hyphen (-), but the dash (--). It's made by hitting the hyphen twice. In most cases, when you type the hyphen twice it will turn into one long dash (-). Sometimes you see the dash inserted where a comma would fit; other times you see it where you would put parentheses. How is the dash supposed to be used-and when can you use it to get the effect you want?
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What am I going to write about?Which topic is the best?Who is going to be interested in my article?
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