Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Tips For Aspiring Writers Part II

Continuing on with last week's theme: more tips for aspiring writers, aka, painful things I learned along the way that I wish I'd figured out sooner ;)
  1. Revise. Edit. Rip apart that scene you loved which everyone agrees isn’t working, take into consideration their critiques, and re-write the thing. It’s painful. It hurts. Do it anyway. Hmm, I’m noticing a common theme here. Writing hurts! But then when the magic is burning though your veins, you know there’s nothing in the world you’d rather be doing.

  2. When all else fails, Outline. Ok, if we were going chronologically, this should obviously come first. And as a long devotee of Outline Resisters Anonymous, I understand it’s annoying and difficult and occasionally impossible. I revised my stance on the subject, however, after writing 200 meandering pages that ended up being useless because I didn’t know where the story was going next. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s useless pages. Do you know how long it takes to write 200 freaking pages? A LONG TIME! Determined not to waste so much time again, I approached outlining with reticence. With Glitch I charted out a basic arc to the story-line, beginning middle and end. Then I would outline about two scenes or chapters ahead as I went. With book II and III of the proposed trilogy, Agent Dude told me, hey, that sounds great, send me outlines. And I was like, um… o-kaaaaaaay. I didn’t say I’d never really in-depth outlined a whole book before. I just did it. It was strange and uncomfortable. But then it took on a life of it’s own as I thought through and imagined scenes (with full dramatic lighting and special effects, natch) in my head, and wrote them down on paper.

  3. Read Natalie Goldberg. There is no more beautiful writer who writes about writing. She approaches it like a zen practice, and if that sounds cheesy to you, well it’s not. It’s brilliant and beautiful, full of honesty and straight-to-the-gut zingers. Everyone will tell you to read Writing Down the Bones, and they are right. Go buy yourself a copy. Now.

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