Sunday, April 28, 2013

A is for Advice

I found this too.

Previously in The New Writer (UK Print)
and at The Internet Writers Journal

A For Advice

ALWAYS write it down. Never trust to memory

ABSORB craft until it runs in your blood, until craft is automatic

AUTOMATIC, free writing, writing unthinkingly accesses the unconscious

ASK QUESTIONS of those who have succeeded. Don't be afraid to be dumb. 

BE PREPARED for everything. Always carry a pen and pad.

BLEED on to the page. Honesty, your soul, that's where real writing is

BATTLE, Battle, Battle, it's a long haul 

BEAT BLOCK by writing anything.Diarise your day, and have a biolog which you can always continue. Never give in to block. It's a myth, but self-fulfilling

BEGINNERS. There is nothing wrong with being a beginner. Be honest, start at the bottom and expect to be poor. Things will improve. 

CRITIQUE everything

CHECK everything (but AFTER the writing session)

CHARACTER, character, character

CULTIVATE the habits of a writer, time place, targets. Get to the stage where, when you wake up your first thought is "when do I fit my writing in today!" 

CUT, Cut, Cut. Almost always the story can be tighter

CLICHÉS are skimmed. Write what you want to write in a new way 

DISCIPLINE is vital. Create good, repeatable writing habits.

DETERMINATION, and doggedness are required for success.

DIALOGUE is NOT speech, it's an artistic rendition of speech.

DON'T open with a bang.

DON'T rely on a twist ending.

DON'T hold back

DON'T write with one eye on the market unless you're a hack.

DECIDE why you write, to write, to be an author, to make money, what? Be true! 

EMOTE don't fear emotion, but avoid schmaltz

EMPATHISE with characters, think from inside their hearts

ENERGISE write with fire, inspire, seduce, persuade. Don't be plain vanilla

EDIT. Be ruthless. Be brave. Be powerful.

EDUCATE your loved ones. Agree your sacred writing time 

FIND an honest, brave group, from two to twenty.

FLOW (and sing)

FOLLOW your heart

FLASHBACKS usually hurt the flow of a story.

FILL UP! Read, read, read, especially short stories, poems and news. The soul will do the rest 

GET TO WORK. Meet your targets and exceed them.

GRIN and bear it. Everyone suffers harsh criticism and rejection. Welcome it. 

HONESTY creates art, not cowardice.

HOLIDAY SNAPS? Other people's holidays are boring. Remember to think, is my story of interest to others or a literary holiday photo? 

IMAGINE, be, feel, act, then write it down

INTERNET chat rooms and bulletin boards are serious distractions. WRITE!

INVENT. Don't trot out stock phrases, clichés, bland proverbs, metaphors. Say it fresh, say it new, say it with your voice 

JUST DO IT! Too many aspiring writers spend forever preparing, chatting, instead of actually doing the most important bit, committing words to paper. 

KILL your darlings.

KNOW your characters 

LEARN to see the world as a writer

LANGUAGE is important, its music, weight, colour and resonance can matter as much as the raw dictionary meaning


LOGIC and care are for rewrite time.

LEFT-BRAINED writing is stiff, obvious, boring 

MAKE EM LAUGH, make em cry, make em wait.

MUSIC MATTERS. Consider the "ring" of what you write. Don't drone. 

NAPALM understand Napalm and get the pain in EARLY

NEVER TAKE ADVICE at face value. Consider it, judge the teacher. Think. 

NOTE IT! Whatever you see, whatever you hear. Write it down immediately. You think you won't forget it but you will.

OBJECTIVE, honest, no-punches-pulled criticism is the kindest. If you want to be lied to and told your work is better than it is, you are adding five years extra slog.

OBSTINACY (refusing to hear advice might be good, but it's probably bad)

OBLIQUE doesn't have to mean obscure 

PERSIST, PERSIST. Never give up

PRACTICE. Even you failures are important. Write, learn, write better.

PLOT is a Four Letter word. Character is the Key 


PRESENT manuscripts immaculately

PACE, Pacing, Pauses. Check that the important parts are slower to read. Focus 

QUERY everything. Much advice is simplistic, sometimes plain wrong.

QUICK! Quick! When writing, write quickly and get the words out. They will surprise you. Don't stop to tinker. 


READ A MINIMUM amount a day. Read, for example, one quality story a day. Every day

REJECTIONS are good. They are signs of your courage in sending things out. They are purple hearts. Get lots of rejections and don't blink. Eat rejections like Popeye eats spinach. 

RIGHT-BRAIN writing is warm, sensuous, truthful, daring, revealing, surprising 

SAID (or nothing) is the best speech tag 99% of the time

STUDY the masters.

STRIVE harder.

SEDUCE, don't instruct. (Show not Tell)

SING TO ME. Make your words, sing, rise and fall. Don't be dull

SET GOALS. Have a minimum (bronze) a silver and gold target. Meet them.

SUBMIT. Submit your work. Aim a tad higher than you think you should. Keep submitting. Set submission targets such as one a week. Rejected? Send it out again 

STEREOTYPES are usually bad. Never accidentally use them 

TWIST ENDINGS are cheap. Put your twist in line one and write.

THEME, the meaning, the point is important. Say something.

TEACHERS. Read what they have published

TMAWIA. Beware of writing stories that are too much about what they're about. 

THOUGHT IT? Then write it. Never hold back. 

TILT THE READER with your opening, tilt him into the story. Don't try to grab or impress, be subtle and promising. 

TELL THE TRUTH in your writing (emotional not factual truth) 

THINK before you click. Avoid doing things which eat into your writing time 

USE YOUR HEART, use your soul, not your head, when drafting.

UNDERSTAND. Ask questions read the books, annoy teachers. Accept nothing. 

VULNERABILITY is good, honesty is good, truth is good, pain is good.

VIEW THE WORLD through your characters not from outside.

VIEWPOINT can dramatically affect meaning. Think hard. Be consistent.

VOICE, find your voice, and let characters find theirs 



WAIT until the story is trying to burst out

WRITE FIFTY short stories. Learn to write BEFORE you write your novel

WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get stories rarely satisfy.

WINE. When it isn't working relax, take a bath, have a drink, mellow, then gently call the words up. If in doubt read someone who stokes your soul 

XAMINE, test, study. Take nothing for granted. Take things apart. Learn.

XPLORE. Try things you wouldn't. Write flashes, to order. Break the mould. 

YOU CAN, but it will NOT be easy 

ZZZZZ. Who needs sleep? Surprise yourself. Try going to bed very late or getting up very early. The person you are then is closer to the soul. 

No comments: