Wednesday, March 28, 2007

AK Articles

I'm posting links to my articles, partly as a source for developing writers but also to invite reaction and discussion. In my time I've stumbled on some appalling articles at various places on the web. Too bad there is no system for marking quality or usefulness!

While I think articles such as these, and similar articles in print (eg The New Writer or Cambrensis) are useful, I believe that we learn much more by responding to articles, debating issues, sharing examples which illustrate points etc. Typically in Boot Camp a thread, on, say, Theme, starts with a question, involves one or more pasted articles, story segments and then a to-and-fro of sometimes 200 or more posts. The learning in such discussion is stratospheric compared to merely reading an article or a chapter of a how-to book.

That being so, respond, discuss, argue.

Alice Munro: The Short Answer

In Lieu of Preference

A Few Introductory Articles from 1997

If you visit Writers Write Archives and scroll down to the oldest editions you'll find this by me in Issue Two, September 1997. Beginner, Don't Write That Novel.

In November 1997 there's Plotting is a Seven Letter Word and in December How to Open Without a Bang.

These are simpler articles and as the years progressed, generally so did the articles. You can browse through the Writers Write Archives, read, consider, then hopefully ask questions, or argue issues here in this blog.

Beginner, Don't Write That Novel.
Plotting is a Seven Letter Word
How to Open Without a Bang
Dialogue, Seven Sins, a Sinner

Tries Hard, Could Do Better
How to Win Short Story Competitions
How to Write a Query Letter That Sells
Point of View From My Point of View

Two Articles on Show-not-Tell
Seduction Not Instruction (Part I)
Seduction Not Instruction (Part II)

Ten-and-a-Half Commandments of Writing
Dealing With Rejection

Two Articles on Setting
Creating the Perfect Setting I
Creating the Perfect Setting II

Four Articles on Editing
Be Your Own Editor: Part I
Be Your Own Editor: Part II
Be Your Own Editor: Part III
Be Your Own Editor: Part IV

The Art of Telling Lies
What is a Short Story?
Advice For the Younger Fiction Writer
Left, Right, Left, Right: Character!

That last article was February 2000, the next (the 23rd) was December 2002

Theme Music: Tone is Not an Accident
Judging Writing Competitions
Quick! Quick!
Stealing Stories

Oh BTW, I'll write a page one day on sick writing sites. If you want to understand, go to the one mentioned in the article above and say you like Alex Keegan's articles...

The Novice Screenwriter Refuses to Conform
Sing to Me
If You Whisper, Convince
Choosing a Writing Teacher

Think Before You Click
Ironing While Watching TV
Creative Writing Myths
How It Is
Contract Bridge and Writing. How to Become a Grand Master
A Cool, Dark Guinness
Choosing a Writing Teacher

I hope 40 articles is enought to be going on with.

Best Wishes

Alex Keegan


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting these. I've been reading through the various articles during writing breaks. One that really struck a chord was "Beginner, Don't Write That Novel."

Many years ago I started out writing short stories and articles. I'm so glad I didn't even attempt a novel until a few years ago, because I feel that all that time writing shorter pieces taught me more than I could have learned writing a novel or two (or more) that may or may not have been of publishable quality.

Writing short stories gave me the satisfaction of having completed something. And as you mentioned in your article, it's much easier to get feedback on a short story than it is on a novel or even a section of a novel. And I can't tell you the boost in confidence it gave me once I started having pieces accepted for publication. A writer who spends months, sometimes years writing a novel doesn't get that kind of validation.

The Boot Camp Diaries said...

DAMN! I write a long reply to this (almost my life history.)

The gist was I didn't follow my own advice completely and once I published an article convinced that I could only write novels, not short-stories...