LLR Books

Writing Advice from F. Scott Fitzgerald

Piece of advice published on Letters of Note. It’s from F. Scott Fitzgerald to the aspiring writer at the time, Frances Turnbull, who sent him a story for comment while she was a student at Radcliffe. (The Turnbulls owned a summer house called La Paix, which Fitzgerald rented in 1932-1933 and where he wrote portions of “Tender Is the Night.”)
Fitzgerald’s advice here is wonderful, especially for new writers. He tells her “You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner.”
“…literature, even light literature, will accept nothing less from the neophyte. It is one of those professions that wants the ‘works.’ You wouldn’t be interested in a soldier who was only a little brave.”
Interestingly enough, in the post script, he tells Frances that she has talent, but tells her that is not enough. That reminded me of the post I wrote back in May, “Do You Have Talent?,” which makes the case that talent is just one thing a writer needs — but not the only thing.