Monday, September 22, 2008

Letters to a Young Journalist/Novelist

My friend TJ Sullivan, half journalist and half novelist, has just posted some wonderful insights for young writers who are trying to pursue both kinds of writing. Who better than the L.A.-based veteran writer to provide advice on that subject? TJ just finished work on his latest novel. He charmed me the other day by telling me about his ritual upon completing each book. He reads aloud one chapter each night to his wife. Congratulations, T.J. I'm looking forward to seeing that novel on my local bookstore shelf soon.


At 3:39 PM, Blogger TJ Sullivan said...

John, You're a gentleman, a scholar, and far too kind.

I will however take it ... all of it.

And, lest any young writers misinterpret my tradition of reading aloud to my wife, I feel I should clarify something:

Never confuse your entourage for your audience.

In most cases, the worst people to ask for input about what you've written are the people closest to you. Read your work aloud to hear what you've written, not to hear someone else judge whether it's any good.

When you know enough to know good writing from bad without asking anyone is a matter for an entire post all its own.

Thank you again John.


At 3:41 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

All well said, TJ. And when you're ready to write your definitive take on that last compelling subject--knowing good writing from bad without asking anyone--do let me know. We'd love to highlight that as well.

At 3:46 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

By the way, I've foolishly cut corners on my description of TJ by saying he's a journalist/novelist. He's also a teacher, and something of an accomplished photographer. You can sample his vivid photography here:

At 3:47 PM, Blogger TJ Sullivan said...

Oops ... I knew I'd stepped in it the moment I hit send. Taking on that last compelling subject could take some time.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Not to worry--we've got nothing but time around here. This has been a five and a half year long project (this blog), after all. So we're not in a rush. We're more than happy to wait for the best stuff.


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