23 August, 2019 § Leave a comment
Elmore Leonard was a prolific and successful writer who found late success with crime and mystery. In this gritty production (only 7 minutes) “Dutch” gives some clarity to writers.
This one hit home for me. His characters ‘audition’ in the first 100 pages. He names his characters. In one case, one of his characters appeared but never said a word. He changed that characters name and he “couldn’t shut him up.”
Watch it. There’s more to learn from this legend.
And if you want to learn more from him, try these (poor audio but gems of info).
Video 1 (32 mins) Part 1 of 2
Video 2 (16 mins) Part 2 of 2
“I love the sound of speech.”
That is a terrific tip for writers. Dialogue is king in Leonard’s works. It brings immediacy and reality to his work. Fall in love with the sound of speech and you’ll improve your own writing. Get comfortable writing great diaogue that moves your story forward.
16 August, 2019 § Leave a comment
Who’d have thought this delicate woman could write such gothic novels.
From the heart, successful author Anne Rice talks about the craft and art of writing and publishing. 12 minutes of viewing, packed with punchy advice for you as a writer. Here are just a couple of practical gems…
The only way to write is to “kick out the pages everyday“.
The only thing standing between you and realising your dreams as a writer is usually yourself.
Really good viewing – take notes!
Check out her book list – notice the periods of publication. Interview with a Vampire was first published in 1976. Be peristent! http://annerice.com/Bookshelf-AllBooksInOrder.html
If you want to indulge in more Anne Rice writing advice, go with this, even if (like me) you’re not into the gothic genre – there are gems of ideas here. 45 minutes.
“Forget all the rules .. and what blocks you. You want to get your work done… do what helps you to get it done.”
14 August, 2019 § Leave a comment
When you want advice on how to write, it’s hard to filter through the dross. Everyone’s suddenly an expert on the internet, even if all they’ve ever written is a shopping list.
If you want to learn well, learn from those who have done what you want to do.
I’d never heard of Scott Sigler.
He’s not world-famous. His name doesn’t drop off your lips when you talk about contemporary writers. But he’s written ten books, five of which were published by Random House. So I’ll take my hat off, pull up a chair and listen to what he has to say.
Even better, he’s not selling anything! Isn’t that refreshing?
Here are his steps:
- Write every day (everyone who’s anyone says the same thing, but are you doing it?)
- Learn to finish a novel by writing your first book – it’ll be very ordinary but get it done
- Put that book away for six months – let it percolate in your desk drawer uninterrupted
- Start writing your next book – it’ll already be better than the first attempt
- When your six months are up, pull out that first book and read it – where is it weak? fix those weaknesses
Watch the full 11:55 minutes for the details. He presents well – an easy listen but keep your pen and paper handy.
9 August, 2019 § Leave a comment
One of our most successful contemporary authors not talking about fantasy.
In this interview post-Harry Potter, Joanne reveals her practice in developing and defining issues in a novel, creating reality, thematic approaches and the grit of real-life turned into written stories.
“Probably everything I write will be about death and morality”.
And, I love her laugh!
Definitely worth a viewing – around 28 minutes.
7 August, 2019 § Leave a comment
You can get lost on the interwebs looking for writing tips.
So, where do you begin and which are the really useful ones?
After looking for a while, there are a number that stand out which I find work to improve your writing. To save you time, I’ve distilled these down to two – just two – essential tips to improve your writing.
- You can’t be a good writer if you’re not a good reader.
- Reading expands your vocabulary and exposes you to different writing styles.
- The more you read (and the more widely you read) the more you inculcate the craft of writing.
- Ideally start by noting passages, words, sentences that jump out at you. Over time, you will build a wonderful arsenal of mentoring notes that will inform your own writing.
- Read in your genre.
- Read the iconic books and authors.
- Read for enjoyment too.
- Sure, study the craft of writing but that doesn’t make you a writer. Writing makes you a writer, just as publishing makes you an author.
- The more you write the more you build your writing muscle. You can’t do a 100 push-ups by watching tons of youtube videos and googling how to’s forever. At some point, you’ve gotta put your hands and knees on the floor and start pushing up.
- The more you practice the easier it becomes and in time the more you can do.
- Same with writing. Practice it every day, even if you’ve only got ten minutes.
- Schedule writing into your day.
- Make it a routine like brushing your teeth.
- Squeeze extra time into your lunch break or just after you wake up.
- Use a pen and paper, use a laptop, use a voice recorder, use whatever you’ve got to work with. Get fancy-schmancy later.
- Just start and keep the practice up.
Really, these are the two critical tips you need. What you do need to do is apply them! Don’t worry about all the what-ifs: they will work themselves out once you build your confidence and your craft.
The article below has some good expanded tips that are worth a look too. (I’m not promoting this mob, by the way. But their tips are useful).
Of course, you could just turn off your browser now and go write 🙂