To do good writing, read great writing. Here’s the great writing I’ve been reading this week:
I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.
The person who uttered those wise words could have been talking about anything from fishing to managing a Fortune 500 company.
Since the person in question is Ray Bradbury, though, I’m going to take it on faith that he was talking about writing. When it comes to the benefits of practice, and doing what you love, Bradbury would know. Before he died this week at 91, he’s spent most of his life working at a craft he obviously adored.
And his readers adored him for it.
Bradbury was an American classic. His science fiction was approachable and universal, so you didn’t need to be a sci-fi fan to like it, or get it. He wasn’t afraid to take a stand. And he wasn’t afraid to be himself.
In his honor, here are 3 of my favorite Bradbury books, along with some thoughts writers and other fans have been sharing this week about his life and work:
Dandelion Wine – This 1957 novel about a 12-year-old boy’s summer living with his grandparents and his grandfather’s attempt at creating a happiness machine is my all-time favorite Bradbury story, maybe because it was based on his own childhood. According to this story on Vulture.com, a movie version of the book is in the works. According to Vulture.com, Bradbury told producer Natasha Shilapnikoff, “I’m never going to die: I’m a time machine. I am just going to another place and time.”
Farenheit 451 - This 1953 novel about a futuristic society where books are banned and firefighters are called on not to put out fires, but to start them. On the subject, Bradbury once said: “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
The Martian Chronicles – What would happen if humans colonized another planet, say Mars? That’s the premise for this loosely interwoven collection of short stories . Bradbury wrote a lot more short stories than novels, as you can see by looking at this bibliography (calling him prolific seems like an understatement). In addition to Dandelion Wine, no fewer than four Bradbury works are being developed as movies, according to this Los Angeles Times story.
What’s your favorite Bradbury book?