Once I had all the facts in, I found I didn't have the immoral courage to pull the caper. So I wrote it as a story. As a teenager, I didn't have any skills for writing as such, so it came out in 1500 words.
I quit my job, and went ashore to become a writer.
I find to my mixed astonishment that I do dream, but I didn't know it.
Some major writers have a huge impact, like Ayn Rand, who to my mind is a lousy fiction writer because her writing has no compassion and virtually no humor. She has a philosophical and economical message that she is passing off as fiction, but it really isn't fiction at all.
The story of my very first sale is the fact that I dreamed up a foolproof paper to cheat an insurance company out of several hundred thousand dollars.
When you combine something to say with the skill to say it properly, then you've got a good writer.
As far as hypnosis is concerned, I had a very serious problem when I was in my twenties. I encountered a man who later became the president of the American Society of Medical Hypnosis. He couldn't hypnotize me.
I feel angry that I can't be hypnotized. I'm not putting it down, and I'm not saying that it doesn't exist. I have talked to a great many people who are very good at it, but so far nobody has ever been able to hypnotize me.
Ninety percent of everything is crap.
Inner space is so much more interesting, because outer space is so empty.
I have lived most of my life with the conviction that I don't dream, because I never could retrieve a dream.
My wife is beginning to instruct me on means to retrieve dreams, and bit by bit, it does seem to be working.
It should consist of short, sharply focused sentences, each of which is a whole scene in itself.
You don't sit up in a cave and write the Great American Novel and know it is utterly superb, and then throw it page by page into the fire. You just don't do that. You send it out. You have to send it out.
The first writing I did was short short stories for a newspaper syndicate for which I was paid five dollars a piece on publication.
I've always written very tightly, and there's a good reason for that. There's no point in using words that you're not going to apply.
I sent The World Well Lost to one editor who rejected it on sight, and then wrote a letter to every other editor in the field warning them against the story, and urging them to reject it on sight without reading it.