Archives for posts with tag: Charles Schultz

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Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life featues humor, writing advice, plus the incomparable Monsieur Snoopy in his atelier (i.e., doghouse roof) writing about dark and stormy nights.

Book summary from Library Journal: Using the many Snoopy “at the typewriter” strips as jumping-off points, 30 famous writers as disparate as Ray BradburyElmore Leonard, Budd Shulberg, Dominick Dunne, Danielle Steele, and Sue Grafton contribute pep talks, amusing anecdotes, or useful advice to would-be writers based on their own experiences. Witty and charming, the essays offer much creative and practical wisdom. But the highlight of the book is the touching foreword by Charles Schulz’s son, Monte, who offers some striking insights into his father’s life, giving the reader a glimpse of the legendary cartoonist as a reader as well as a writer.

Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life is out of print, but copies are available at libraries — and used paperback editions are available at a reasonable prices (starting at around $5.00) on Amazon.com.

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From SNOOPY’S GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE

Contribution by Elmore Leonard

Snoopy has come up with an especially clever name with “Good Authority,” one that makes the story work.

I once named a character Frank Matisse, but he acted older than his age; and for some reason he wouldn’t talk as much as I wanted him to. I changed his name to Jack Delany and couldn’t shut him up.

Because I use a lot of dialogue in my stories, the characters must be able to talk in interesting ways. So I audition them in opening scenes to see which ones will have important roles in the plot. If a character doesn’t speak the way I want him to, and changing his name doesn’t work, he could be demoted to a less important role.

The best kind of character is one who starts out in a minor role – sometimes without even having a name – and talks his way into the plot. He says a few words, and I see this guy has an interesting personality and I look for more ways to use him in the story.

I write my stories in scenes and always from a particular character’s point of view. Then I may rewrite the same scene from a different character’s point of view and find that it works better. After I finish a book, I continue to think about my characters and wonder what they’re up to.

The most important advice I would suggest to beginning writers: Try to leave out the parts that readers skip.

ELMORE LEONARD is the bestselling author of nearly forty books, including Get Shorty, La Brava, Cuba Libre, and Stick, many of which have been made into films.

SNOOPY’S GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE is available at Amazon.com(The books is out of print, but used copies are available for around $7.50 plus shipping.)

Illustration: Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schultz

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From SNOOPY’S GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE 

Anthology Contribution by Ray Bradbury (Excerpt)

…Snoopy has written me on many occasions from his miniature typewriter, asking me to explain what happened to me in the great blizzard of rejection slips of 1935. Then there was the snowstorm of rejection slips in ’37 and ’38 and an even worse winter snowstorm of rejections when I was twenty-one and twenty-two.

That almost tells it, doesn’t it, that starting when I was fifteen I began to send short stories to magazines like Esquire, and they, very promptly, sent them back two days before they got them! I have several walls in several rooms of my house covered with the snowstorm of rejections, but they didn’t realize what a strong person I was; I persevered and wrote a thousand more dreadful short stories, which were rejected in turn.

Then, during the late forties, I actually began to sell short stories and accomplished some sort of deliverance from snowstorms in my fourth decade. But even today, my latest books of short stories contain at least seven stories that were rejected by every magazine in the United States and also in Sweden! So, dear Snoopy, take heart from this. The blizzard doesn’t last forever; it just seems so.

Cartoon: Charles Schultz, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life is on my holiday “must read” list. Sounds like the perfect read — humor, writing advice, plus the charming, incomparable Monsieur Snoopy in his atelier (i.e., doghouse roof) writing about dark and stormy nights.

Here’s a blurb about the book from Library Journal: Using the many Snoopy “at the typewriter” strips as jumping-off points, 30 famous writers as disparate as Ray Bradbury, Elmore Leonard, Budd Shulberg, Dominick Dunne, Danielle Steele, and Sue Grafton have written short pep talks, amusing anecdotes, or just useful advice to would-be writers based on their own experiences. Witty and charming, the essays offer much creative and practical wisdom. But the highlight of the book is the touching foreword by Charles Schulz’s son, Monte, who offers some striking insights into his father’s life, giving the reader a glimpse of the legendary cartoonist as a reader as well as a writer.

It appears that Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life is out of print, but copies are available at libraries — and used paperback editions are available at a reasonable prices (starting at $7.32) on Amazon.com.

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Credit: Charles Schultz, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Credit: Charles Schultz, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED