7 writing tips from ‘The Great Gatsby’

An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age masterpiece hits movie theaters this weekend. Writers are still learning from the text.

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Just what is it about Fitzgerald’s 1920s masterpiece that makes it so enduring? Scholars interviewed in the USA Today article tout the novel’s relevance, American-ness, and snapshot of the time period. They also focus on the book’s “imperishable prose.”

“There’s not one flabby sentence,” Saturday Evening Post historian Jeff Nilsson said.

For further proof of the power of Fitzgerald’s writing, Ragan.com turned to some of today’s writers—of books, but also of communications materials—to ask how the book has influenced their work. Here’s what they said they learned.

1. Be aware of who’s telling the story.

“It would be a completely different work if told from Gatsby’s or Daisy’s or Jordan’s point of view, or that of an omniscient narrator,” says Michael J. Youmans, a.k.a. “Dr. Yo,” founder and director of CollegePrepExpress, a company that helps students with their college essays. “Fitzgerald has Nick tell the story not only because he’s the most sober and reliable character, but also to give immediacy to the events that a non-participant could not equal.”

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