I delivered a short story writing workshop to a high school class. I'm still riding on a crest of elation over its success. Given the opportunity, it's something I could get used to. In an unrelated incident, I was telling someone I had written stories that were published. This person's enthusiastic response reminded me being … Continue reading Speak words and learn
Hearken, ye. Herein dwells the frustrated rant of a writer. I think I'm reaching a critical impatience point with certain types questions some writers ask. Or I'm getting old and crotchety and not jiving with how newbies work their creativity. Social media is exceedingly useful for writers. There's endless advice and interplay of ideas and support. … Continue reading Stop Crowd Sourcing Imagination
Last week I attended the Emerging Writer's Festival Criticism Masterclass. The main thing, absolutely the main thing I got from it, was to pitch. Write and pitch, imitate and make contact, read and practice. But mainly, pitch ideas. I'd never really done that before, but, reader, I did. I pitched one idea to one place … Continue reading Taking advice as directed
Writing has been hard work. I've had trouble getting from the end of the middle of one story, to its conclusion, which I've worked out. And, with my novella, I've begun fixing everything I've realised is wrong with it, but it takes a while to warm up. I'm not feeling the mojo, in other words, … Continue reading How a story is a horse, of course
Sometimes when you learn a lesson, it really takes. Sometimes a lesson becomes a code or a creed to live by or write by and thus become a part of you. I've had a lot of writing advisors, some were actual teachers, and lecturers, and others were found via books or online or just in … Continue reading Examining writing rules
If you are writing or thinking about writing, or reading about thinking about starting to write you will, with little trouble, come across a terrifyingly huge amount of advice. It comes in the form of: books, blogs, well-meaning friends, videos, hash-tagged conversations, mime performances, professional organisations and their magazines, software, spam invitations to pay for … Continue reading Anti-Advice for Writers
Ten Commandments for the Novelist 1. Thou shalt not write with one ear to the cash register, for the clink of coin may deafen thee to the rhythm of thine own prose. 2. Thou shalt not have contempt for thy readers. They may yet write rings around thee. 3. Neither shalt thou befuddle them with obfuscations thou understandeth not thyself. 4. Thou shalt not covet the success of thy neighbours: neither style, nor plots nor characterisations, nor royalties. 5. Honour thy language and write earnestly. Master the tools of thy trade and be as good a joiner in words as a master carpenter is in wood. 6. Be not hasty after the plaudits of the multitude, for they will pursue thee in thy measure and worth, and though they come not quickest to those that are lacking in greed, yet they stay the longest. 7. Despise not those masters who came before thee, and neither do thou worship them blindly. 8. Thou shalt not pose nor regard thyself as anointed, for the seeds of talent are as the sands on the seashore and ten thousand may spring into bloom and expose thee for a weed. 9. Thou shalt not look away from life about thee, for in it lie thy roots and thy nourishment. 10. Write from the depths of thy soul and men (sic) will know thee from its quality.
Adapted from Louis Zara and quoted from - Birmingham, Frederic S. The Writers Craft Arthur Barker Ltd, London: 1959.