Sunday, June 14, 2015

how to rule the world

I've been writing...or at least working at it...for a good seven years now. During that time I've amassed a small fortune worth of books on writing, covering everything from grammar and punctuation, to plotting and character development, to inspiration and motivation. A quick count today came to over 75 books on which point I gave up.

You get the picture...
Here are a few things I've learned:
  • According to Stephen King:

To which I would add, read like a writer. Pay attention to what draws you into a story and keeps you there. Take note when you have to turn back a few pages to check on a fact or to recall a character. Then avoid anything that takes your readers out of the story when you write. If you have a question about punctuation or dialogue, study how it's handled in the book you're reading. Scribble in the margins. Takes notes. Then apply what you've learned to your own writing.

  • From Toni Morrison I learned: 


Meaning, write like a reader. First and foremost, write the truth as you know it. Learn what makes a good book cover and title--the reader's first encounter with your writing. Then give your intended audience what it wants to read. Do whatever it takes to engage the bookstore browser in as few words as possible. Write what you want to read and compel your audience to read it, too.
  • At some point you must begin.
  • Get all the feedback you can. Join a critique group or two or three. Get thee to a good writing conference at least once or twice a year. Connect with other writers. Embrace revision.

  • Keep at it until you finish. According to Neil Gaiman:

Sounds simple enough.
  • Put it out there. Don't even think about slipping your manuscript into a drawer somewhere. Remember:

So, there you have it--all you need to know to get started in writing. Enjoy the journey!
"It ain't whatcha write.
It's the way atcha write it."
~Jack Kerouac~
I'm off to Dallas this week. Hoping to make some big-time progress on my WIP. Research more than writing. Asking more than telling.

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