Monday, October 02, 2006

Writing Advice

What follows are some of my favorite posts from my LiveJournal version of this blog. Consider this the first in a series of repostings, tag by tag. This is from the Advice tag. And yes, I guess this means I'm officially using this blog now. Guess I should turn on the feed. heh. Mostly, I'll be crossposting here and on my LJ. However, my LJ will be going Friends Only most likely and will contain posts that won't show up here.


P.J. Parrish, in response to a question answered on Ms. Snark, posted 10 Things You Should NEVER Worry About, including this intro wisdom:
"Stop worrying about the dumb stuff. It drains your energy. It diverts your attention. It gives you a really good reason to NOT do what you really need to do -- write the best damn book you can write. See, if you're busy obsessing over what font to use you don't have to wrestle the hairy POV beast to the mat, do you."
The rest is funny and fun to read.

From Neil Gaiman's Journal, in answer to a question (I love that he does questions and answers):
"It's not a science. It's an art and a sometimes it's a craft. The most important thing (and I know I say this a lot but it's true, or at least it's true for me) is finishing things, because that's when you find out if they worked or not. The rest of the time it's just hoping. And if you stop writing when a promising beginning runs out of steam, maybe you need something more in the planning stages. Or maybe you just need to soldier madly onward and see what Chance and Necessity (the mother, it must be remembered, of invention) provide."
I like this because it doesn't assume one way. He has what works for him, mostly, but he allows that there are other ways of working and having things work.
This one generated a nice discussion:

The topic of discussion in the posts below got me to wondering, which is usually a dangerous thing. So, two questions:

1. What was the best advice re: writing you ever got?

2. What was the worst advice re: writing you ever got?

I think folks can figure out my answer to 1.) was to ignore what didn't work for me and try to find what does. For 2.), I'd have to say, it's a tie between outlining and write everyday. Writing everyday was a particular frustration and in an odd way, helpful, because I discovered I'm a burst writer.
Ray Rhamey, like me, doesn't do the following, for similar yet different reasons than I don't do them. From Flogging the Quill.
* Outline your story.
* Write every day.
* Have a page or word-count goal.
* Have a specific place to write.
* Write character biographies.
I really liked:
"I'm addressing these issues because writers ask about them, and many writers who are working hard to learn how to do this take the advice of "experts" seriously. But writing is so idiosyncratic that one author's aid can be another's handcuffs."
Amen. It's always nice when someone gets it, as in gets the point I keep trying to make about newbies not knowing any better and experts wielding more power as authorities than they realize. Rhamey is a writer and editor and his blog is well worth the read.

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