[source] Joe’s Writing Tips April 2009 Books to Be Influenced By It never ceases to amaze me. I’ll meet someone at an event who says, “I always wanted to be a writer,” and I’ll ask, “What do you like to read?” – and that person will say something like, “I’m really not much of a reader.”Why would anyone want to be a writer who doesn’t like to read? And how does anyone figure out how to write without reading everything they can, first?It’s basic primate behavior: monkey see, monkey do. We learn to speak by imitating adults who speak to us, and we learn to write by imitating what we read. Here’s a secret for first-time novelists, in particular: it’s okay to be derivative. It’s okay to imitate what you think is good. As long as you’re not plagiarizing – as long as you’re using your own words and telling your own story – it’s not only fine, it’s helpful to try to write in the style of authors you admire. We all do it, and it’s one of the most frequently-asked question any author gets: “Who are your influences?” It takes a long time to find one’s own voice, and even then, we’re all products of every other book we’ve ever read, and every person we’ve ever spoken to. It’s not just writing; all artists do this, whatever the medium. Picasso’s early work, for example, borrows heavily from the old masters – and then, when he felt he’d learned as much as he could from them, he used what he learned to create his own unique style. How many times have you heard a band described as “Beatlesque,” or “the new Dylan”? Brian De Palma’s movies started out as faithful homages to Alfred Hitchcock, and Peter Bogdanovich acknowledges the heavy influence of Orson Welles on his early work. It’s tricky, of course. Harold Bloom looked at this phenomenon in The Anxiety of Influence, a book about modern poetry. Bloom […]
If you sit around and wait to channel the muse, you can sit around and wait a long time. It’s not effortless. If only. Well, if it was, then everyone would do it, and where would we be then? So I work really hard to make it as fluid as possible, as readable and entertaining as possible.
This book was a slow start for me, but once it got going, it was hard to put down. I was almost late for work one morning, because I had started reading and couldn’t stop. I literally sat down 4 hours ago to finish it, because I just couldn’t stand not knowing what happened anymore. The Help is a riveting, entertaining first novel– I think Ms. Stockett should be quite proud of herself.
First, I’ve posted a new chapter to All I Wanna Do. I swear I never meant for this story to be an epic, but I also don’t want to truncate the story. Decisions, decisions. I’m starting to long for it to end, though. Do something new. I can’t even imagine how novelists keep writing the same damn story for hundreds of pages. I’ve been reading a lot on tips and pointers, things to do and not to do, and trying to apply them to whatever I’m working on. Recently I’m trying to get rid of anything ending in -ly (i.e. he looked at the burger hungrily. *rolleyes* I don’t think I was doing a lot of that but I’ve caught a few, usually weak chapters where I really just wanted it to be over). I’m also targeting -ing words (‘She sat on the bench, watching him feed the birds’, or even worse ‘picking up the mug, he took a long swallow of beer’). Very slowly, I am working toward not sounding like an amateur.
Courtesy Joe Finder, New York Times Best Selling author. May’s tip is on research– something I do, love to do, and get caught up in a lot. If I had a quarter for every time I almost got bit in the butt over research, I’d have………well probably around a dollar or so. I think this tip is great, and Joe’s word speaks for itself, so I’ll let him say it, after the jump– click on ‘read full article’ and have a ball!
It’s payday, and my reminder to update my word count for 2009. My goal on Jan 1 was 200,000 words. Previous count: 198,036 New Words: 10,526 Word Count Total: 208,562 Words to go: -8,562 \o/ ************************************* I reached my 200,000 word goal, so I am raising it by another 100,000 words. YAY. GOAL: 300,000 Current Count: 208,562 Words to Go: 91,438
It’s payday, and my reminder to update my word count for 2009. My goal on Jan 1 was 200,000 words. Previous count: 186461 New Words: 11575 Word Count Total:198036 Words to go: 1964 \o/
A short written for the linebyline prompt community: I kind of cheated this week. I started this forever ago and abandoned it, and tonight I was looking through some old stuff and it popped up, so I thought I would revise and add to it and try to fit this week’s line in it because– well hell. That is a hard line. So here we go. ### Her eyes slowly adjusted to the pre-dawn darkness and objects about the room started to take shape. Her head shifted slightly toward the source of a mysterious sound in the room, the one that startled her awake and made her heart race. No matter how often this happened, she’d never get used to him being there at random times during the night. In a few minutes, he would drop his arm from where it was usually slung casually across his forehead, roll over, swing his legs to the floor, and quietly, gently, get out of the bed. She would hear sounds of him padding about the room, barefoot, looking for the clothes he had flung hours earlier in a path to the bed. Then sounds of him putting them on—thick denim being yanked onto muscular, hairy legs, a loud zipper, a button. A shirt being pulled over his head, searching in the dark for the arm holes. Socks, then a dip in the bed as he sat to pull his shoes on. He would pick up his sweatshirt, the one that zipped up the front, and then tiptoe around to her side of the bed, lean down and brush dry, chapped lips across her cheek, tap her rump and whisper ‘thanks’ when her eyes fluttered open briefly. Then he would stealthily move about the house, checking for his wallet, jingling his keys, and walk out. She would hear him test the lock a few times to make sure she was locked inside. He always tested the lock. [read the rest at the archive]
Time to update my word count for 2009. Once I hit 200K, I guess I’ll bump it up, some. Previous count:173981 New Words: 12480 Word Count Total:186461 Words to go: 13539 That little raisin thing is scary.
On Writing by Stephen King My goodreads review
rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked up this book on a whim from Amazon, while searching for some books on Writing. It comes pretty highly recommended from those who have read it. I have to admit I really only read 1/3 of it but I will read the rest. Part 2, On Writing, is basically King’s best advice to writers.