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My drug of choice is writing--writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chris's Fortune Cookie Wisdom for Writers Part I

Add a scent to your descriptions to take them to a new level.   Everyone focuses on sight and sound, but what will really pull a reader into a moment is smells.

As a fiction writer, one of the least effective choices is to name the emotion your characters feel--especially if you expect the audience to feel it as well.  This is true even if you're writing in first person or a close third.  It's still tough to earn because it's telling your reader how to feel. Try instead to describe the events as vividly as possible and trust that your audience's emotions will do the work.

There are certain things you just never want to put into Google and then look at the autofill results. They will just destroy your faith in humanity.
Guage the quality of advice and not just the quantity. A lot of writers will tell you don't need X, Y, or Z.  How many of them are where you want to be?
Imagining walking a mile in someone else's shoes is NOT walking a mile in their shoes.  It just isn't.  So if you're going to be generous and genuine to your characters who have experienced things that you haven't, you have to go beyond an intellectual exercise. Real empathy should often feel like overkill. Trust me...it never is.

First drafts suck.  Stop thinking they don't or they shouldn't. Embrace the suck. That's the only way it'll get better. EMBRACE TEH SUCK!!!

With working out, the trick is to get up off your ass, but it's really hard.  With writing, the key is to apply butt to chair, but that's really hard.  So clearly the key to being a prolific writer is to really, really good at not going to the gym.

To be a writer you have to want to write more than you want to be a writer. That's probably more profound than it sounds. Or less. I'm not sure.

You can get an MFA, take classes, do camps, do programs, do Nano, all you want. But if your reasoning for doing these things is that someone pressures you to write and it creates an external motivation, your fundamental problem will not be solved by one more class or one more degree. Your fundamental problem is that you haven't learned to motivate yourself.

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