Pournelle and Heinlein Writing Advice

(Dr.) Jerry Pournelle passes along Robert Heinlein’s advice as well as some of his own.

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Heinlein (via Pournelle)

  1. Sit down and write.
  2. Finish what you write.
  3. Stop mucking with it and send it to someone who has money to buy it.
    Don’t rewrite it unless one of them promises, “We’d buy it if …”
  4. Write something different.


  1. Write in standard, grammatical English with proper spelling. Don’t be inventive.
  2. It takes 500,000 to a million words to learn how to write.
    [Ed: That’s 5-10 novels, and by Heinlein’s advice, 5-10 different novels, not the same one rewritten over and over.]
  3. Don’t build your story brick-by-brick. It’ll be a mess. Know where you’re going.
  4. The only opinion that counts of your story is whether or not someone will pay you money for it.


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