A Very Quick List of the Main Thing I Learned from Different Writers…
Just the main thing I learned from each of them that sticks with me… I learned much more from each one, of course, but this is the main thing from each that shaped me into the writer I am today.
Why I remember each of these lessons is because I learned them deep. Very deep.
Ray Bradbury… I learned from Ray that writing stories one-a-day or one-a-week does not lower the quality of the story or its value.
Harlan Ellison… As I said last night, I learned it is possible to write clean, one-draft award-winning fiction.
Algis Budrys… I learned to not let my critical voice and all the knowledge I have about the craft of writing ever stop me or my writing (as his knowledge did to him).
Jack Williamson… I learned that never stopping (decade after decade) is the real success in being a writer.
Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm… I learned that it is important to pay forward what you have learned.
John D. MacDonald… That is is possible to write very complex fiction that feels simple to the readers and yet holds a ton of entertainment and meaning.
Fred Pohl… Taught me that no matter what you do in this business, failure or success, you will make enemies and have friends that stick with you.
Robert (Bob) Sheckley… He taught me the real meaning of the word prolific and that just spending time behind a keyboard was the real key to everything.
Julius (Julie) Schwartz… He taught me that kindness and having fun and laughing won most battles and the ones that it didn’t win flat didn’t matter.
Those are my main mentors in this crazy writing life. All are now gone.
I never got a chance to meet MacDonald, and only had drinks with Bradbury three times. The rest I was lucky enough to consider friends and mentors.
You take all of those one sentence lessons from each, put them all together, and you can understand where I am coming from in my writing and the teaching I do.