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A tête-à-tête with the ‘Wordmaster’

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While the ‘WordMaster’ was busy giving an interview, we tried to gate crash and join in the tête-à-tête. Being the generous guy that he is Larry Binion aka the ‘Wordmaster’ obliged us with his thoughts on different aspects of writing, editing, reviewing a work and a lot more. There was that calmness of expertise on his countenance as he shared his valuable insight for all book lovers and writing professionals. I am glad that I am one of those who has read his works. This interview made me realize that it takes a human revolution to make a writer. Larry Binion, the ‘Wordmaster’ definitely has gone through a conscious self-development to be the magnanimous person that he is. We start the extract of the interview with some of the thoughts the Wordmaster shared with his other friends and then with our team of We Love Quality Books. Here is what Larry Binion had to say:


Bo: What does it take to become a writer?

WORDMASTER: All you need to become a writer is what you learned in school. That is as in FREE, public school. Just ask the 10-year-old boy who wrote a book about the Star Wars characters. There are books published every day by those not yet in high school, and in high school. They were brave enough to just do it.

Writing is highly personal. What works for one works for one. It is like learning to whittle. You can read all sorts of books about how to whittle, but until you do it over and over, you can never whittle. See what I mean?


Sho: I heard someone say that you are not a writer unless you’re published. How many books do you have to publish before you can call yourself a writer?

WORDMASTER: You can read the book “How to win friends and influence people”, but reading doesn’t make you any friends. You gotta do it.

This being said it does not denigrate the fact that if you want to be a professional, you need to be one in every sense of the word and learn as much about it as possible. Whittlers whittle constantly. They don’t whittle once a month. They do it every day.

I have always maintained that if you do something wrong for 50 years, and do it wrong, it is still wrong. People who say “I’ve been a plumber for 50 years” doesn’t impress me. I want to know, “Can he do it right?” Regardless of long, you do something, can you do it right? Do you follow the rules?

The more you do it, the better you should become. But use the rules as you know them and learn as much as you can. Be sure to work on grammar, style, characterization, and description. Always try to do better than you did yesterday.

Practice. Yep. Babe Ruth practiced. He is known as the ‘Home Run King’. Many writers never make it. My wish is that you do.


(As you already know, we could not stop ourselves from interrupting and joining in the conversation. The Wordmaster smilingly obliged us with a smile and these answers.)


WeLoveQuality Books: We love what you have written. We are however genuinely interested to know if you have ever faced the infamous ‘Writer’s Block’?

I’ve seldom suffered from this malady. I’ve had too many things on my mind for too many years. I used to drive my mother crazy with questions. Of necessity, I created my own worlds to survive my inner torments. Torn between the true love of my mother and the corrupted, abusive love of my step-dad, I began writing down  my feelings. My father rejected me and some friends betrayed me. I became a thinker and thought about things I felt had not been thought before by humankind.

I delved into writing, not as art or literature, but as an escape mechanism. I needed to be in control, to escape. Once written, I could go back and rewrite anything I didn’t like. I often threw away entire pieces, sometimes a dozen or more at a time.


WLQ Books: Threw away what you wrote? Seriously?

WORDMASTER: Once, I threw away 60 pieces at one time. But most of all, the more I wrote, the more I could escape at a later date. Sometimes when I’d visit the pages of the past, I didn’t want to come out of my reverie. Not that my stuff was ever any good. Nay, but it did get better from time to time. I triumphed in my heart at those times, and I writhed in agony when I knew I’d created a disaster.


WLQ Books: : Wordmaster, we now understand you as a writer. Now please tell us what would you say is the best way of critiquing someone’s intellectual creation or shall we say, the book, the writer has successfully written and published?

WORDMASTER: I deal in viscous humor. On the serious side, I once belonged to a Writer’s group. One woman was so good at critiquing, that many people left in tears. To deflect the harshness of her words, she began hugging everyone. Now, I can’t hug you. All I can do is bite. Back to my friend.

Her explanation for her “harsh” criticism was that editors are not forgiving. The public is not forgiving. Readers are not forgiving. Take the criticism for what it is, and do better. There is no growth without pain. No pain, no gain. She would take the very best of us and rip them to shreds. But we all grew. I wrote a poem about her.

Now —- having said that——– she NEVER attacked anyone personally. She never called names. As mentioned above, it is the tone that destroys. You can take a sword and save someone’s soul, or rip someone’s heart out. Which way will you wield it?

On the other hand, some are more sensitive than others. Much more sensitive than they should be.

We can all do this. We can’t control others, but we can control ourselves. When we critique, we should do it professionally, keeping our best foot forward as if we were selling the critique to a publisher. When we read a critique, we should neither look for “pat me on the back” or I’ll get mad” or “tell me you hate it and I’ll get mad.”

Take what you want and discard the rest. It is only the opinion of others. C.S. Lewis and Tolkien were in the same writers’ group. They hated each other’s work. They were especially hard on each other. But they remained friends. Look at the astounding success they had.


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