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Writing Tips from Ian McEwan: Read and Avoid Creative Writing Programs

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In this interesting interview with author Ian McEwan (Atonement, Solar), the Booker Prize-winning novelist offers advice to aspiring writers: READ. The admonishment comes after he roundly dismisses undergraduate writing programs as ?a vehicle for mass ignorance? and ?deathly,? which, having attended one myself, I?m in complete concurrence.

McEwan?s observation (like his books) has a bit of a twist beneath the surface. He doesn?t recommend new writers to read simply to immerse themselves in the world of words so much as a means of evading undue influence from those one has yet to read.

As he explains, ?If you don’t read as a novelist, you’re liable to be hugely influenced by the writers you haven’t read. It’s a strange, and pernicious, visible and rather mysterious matter that you can be in the grip of writers that you have plucked from the air without fully understand where you got them from. Only by reading can you isolate these sources and at least write pastiche or at least be conscious of what you’re doing.”

For Creative Lot’s own patent pending advice for aspiring writers and other creatives, download our free ebook, The Tea Cup Whale: How to Find Your Creative Niche and Be Big in a Small World.

Daedalus Howell is the writer-director of the films Pill Head (on Amazon) and the upcoming Wolf Story. He is the author, most recently, of the novel "Quantum Deadline" and editor of The North Bay Bohemian and The Pacific Sun. Learn how he went from small-town newspaperman to a feature film director here.

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Daedalus Howell is the writer-director of the films Pill Head (on Amazon) and the upcoming Wolf Story. He is the author, most recently, of the novel "Quantum Deadline" and editor of The North Bay Bohemian and The Pacific Sun. Learn how he went from small-town newspaperman to a feature film director here.

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