Gail Carson Levine

Literary Birthday – 17 September – Gail Carson Levine

Happy Birthday, Gail Carson Levine, born 17 September 1947.

The Writer’s Oath 

I promise solemnly:
1. to write as often and as much as I can,
2. to respect my writing self, and
3. to nurture the writing of others.
I accept these responsibilities and shall honour them always.


  1. Establish writing habits, whatever they are, a particular time to write, a number of pages that have to be written, a time goal. If you choose my method, the time goal, write it down as you go. Don’t let it be vague.
  2. Know that you are a writer and your obligation, possibly your calling, is to write. Writing is your fallback position. As much as you can, avoid judging your work. When you find yourself doing it, shift your thoughts elsewhere.
  3. There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become a part of you, in a way that words in a book you’ve read only once can’t.
  4. A library is infinity under a roof.
  5. Why do you keep reading a book? Usually to find out what happens. Why do you give up and stop reading it? There may be lots of reasons. But often the answer is you don’t care what happens. So what makes the difference between caring and not caring? The author’s cruelty. And the reader’s sympathy … it takes a mean author to write a good story.
  6. It is helpful to know the proper way to behave, so one can decide whether or not to be proper.
  7. When you become a teenager, you step onto a bridge. You may already be on it. The opposite shore is adulthood. Childhood lies behind. The bridge is made of wood. As you cross, it burns behind you.
  8. As for my characters, I discover them as I write. When they feel blank I use the character questionnaire you can find in Writing Magic. The one thing I do do is visualize. I need to see my characters moving through a scene, to know where they are and what they’re seeing, hearing, touching, smelling.
  9. When I write, I make discoveries about my feelings.
  10. The reason I work anywhere is because I trained myself to be able to many years ago after reading Becoming A Writer  by Dorothea Brande. I travel a fair amount, and I don’t want my work to grind to a halt whenever I leave home. People who can  write only when the moon is full and the stars are in a certain alignment don’t finish many books.

Read more on Gail’s Blog

Gail Carson Levine is an American author of young adult books. Her first novel, Ella Enchanted, received a Newbery Honor. She is also the author of Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink. Her latest book in the Bamarre series is The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre.

Source for image

David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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Posted on: 17th September 2014