September 12, 2018 at 12:28 pm #1115
Anyone who’s been on Twitter may have noticed that I’m tweeting out some small nuggets of writing advice that I’ve found helpful.
I’m hoping to continue to do this on a semi-regular basis, but…
As I only have a limited number that are any use (if I had lots, I’d be a better writer than I am!), I wondered if any of the Denizens here had any that they’d heard/used/made up themselves and found useful?
If you want to post them in this thread, they’d serve a dual purpose of being available for the Denizens to read, and also would provide some material for the @denofwriters twitter account.
If you want to include your twitter handle, I’m more than happy to credit anyone here with the advice they proffer!
Cheers!September 12, 2018 at 12:30 pm #1116
Good idea, Mad. Can’t think of anything right now, but will rack my brains. Would be great to see others’ suggestionsSeptember 12, 2018 at 12:34 pm #1117
Just noticed that people may not realise that by “I” in the post above, I mean the “@denofwriters” twitter account, which I’m currently curating.
I don’t mean my own personal twitter account, which tends to be less polite and helpful.September 12, 2018 at 1:22 pm #1124SeagreenParticipant
Make time for day-dreaming. Fifteen minutes of doing nothing, except thinking about a particular scene, can help you visualise better.
Atmospheric music helps. As does wine. Or gin.
Okay, maybe not gin.September 12, 2018 at 4:22 pm #1131SquidgeParticipant
Choose ring bound notebooks to scribble ideas in; you’ll never lose your pen if you keep one clipped down the inside of the rings…September 12, 2018 at 5:06 pm #1132JonathanParticipant
One of my favourite (quotable) bits of writing advice is from Geoff Dyer: “Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.” I love that.September 12, 2018 at 5:17 pm #1133ElleParticipant
When writing that painful 1st draft always remember Hemingway wise words: “The first draft of anything is shit.”September 12, 2018 at 9:55 pm #1143
Excellent. Will use these. If you have a twitter handle, I’ll credit ye – otherwise anonymity will have to suffice.September 13, 2018 at 8:49 am #1150Julie CordinerParticipant
I write in 3rd person and if I’m struggling with getting the voice right in a scene, I try re-writing it in first person. It seems to create more intensity and immediacy. Then I keep the emotions when I revise it back to third person.
I discovered this effect in one of the exercises in the Self Editing course.
Twitter handle is @Julie_Cordiner.September 13, 2018 at 9:53 am #1154RaineParticipant
Good idea, Mad.
Umm. One I heard that I think made sense in terms of the editing process was ‘Write the first draft for yourself, edit for your readers.’
Also, Find the theme of your story. Themes tie characters, plots and subplots together.
Also (Although I am rubbish at doing this), when finishing for the day, stop in the middle of a scene, not at the end. THen it’s easier to get back into the next time you sit down.
I shall mull…(that’s not a tip. Although it might be)September 13, 2018 at 10:01 am #1155
I believe Hemingway also gave that tip about stopping in the middle of a scene, Raine, so you’re in good company there.
Though as it happens I am at this moment taking a break (all right, procrastinating) from struggling to get back into the middle of a scene…September 13, 2018 at 10:35 am #1157KazGParticipant
Great idea, Mad, and some good ones here.
Hmm. Steven King said something similar to Raine’s ‘Write the first draft for yourself, edit for your readers’ with his ‘Write the first draft with the door closed, the second draft with the door open’ which has always stuck with me.
I also found the discipline of writing something, anything, for at least 10 minutes a day a good one for a while there. It keeps writing top of mind and does seem to exercise that writing muscle so that it becomes stronger and more nimble. More responsive to the day. I found I was looking at things with a more writerly viewpoint.
One I love – taking home a face each day. I can’t remember where I first saw this one, but its basically choosing a face to study (surreptitiously!) when you’re out and about, and then getting home and writing as full a description as you can from memory. You can then take it to a story stage, surmising who this person is, what their story might be. This could also apply to a moment, a conversation, a sighting, whatever.September 13, 2018 at 12:02 pm #1167RaineParticipant
I am clearly stealing all my tips from people who can put them much better than I can!!September 13, 2018 at 12:05 pm #1168WoolleybeansParticipant
How about: if you want the book to exist, you have to actually write it…September 13, 2018 at 2:12 pm #1204
Well that’s just unreasonable WB 😉
Jacques Anquetil, first five time winner of the Tour de France was once asked what advice he’d give aspiring bike racers. ‘Ride a bike, ride a bike, ride a bike’ was his answer. The equivalent for aspiring writers could be ‘write a book, write a book, write a book’.September 13, 2018 at 2:29 pm #1209
He left out ‘Take the dope, take the dope, take the dope.’ Though i’m not sure what the equivalent would be for writers.September 13, 2018 at 2:49 pm #1210
Anquetil had a comment for that, too – it was something along the lines of ‘you expect us to do what we do on mineral water alone?’
If there was a performance enhancing drug for writing, I’d be sorely tempted by it right now. (Not sure Hunter S Thompson’s idea of such a thing counts, btw)September 13, 2018 at 3:02 pm #1211September 13, 2018 at 3:04 pm #1214
So would I.
‘We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls.’
Er, no…September 13, 2018 at 3:59 pm #1220
Yeah. I recommend not posting Thompson’s regime as writing adviceSeptember 17, 2018 at 4:06 pm #1466John TParticipant
One I picked up from Brian Keaney at York for intense, magical or transformational scenes (to be used sparingly). Write it as prose, rewrite it as poetry (however crappy) then rewrite it again as prose. The idea is to knock away your own familiar turns of phrase and find a different language. I’ve already tried it in the last couple of days, and just a few resonant words in the right place make a big difference.September 17, 2018 at 4:27 pm #1470Baz BaronParticipant
I downloaded a voice recorder app for my mobile so that when I’m out and about finding inspiration on my country walks, I can record ideas that pop into my head and save the mp3 files into their own folder for future use.September 17, 2018 at 4:29 pm #1472Baz BaronParticipant
Good tip @John T I’ll try that.December 11, 2018 at 9:05 am #3401John S AltyParticipant
I came across this piece of writing advice by Sol Stein which appeals to me:
“….be sure you don’t stop the story while describing. You are a storyteller, not an interior decorator.”
Probably a shot across the bows of so-called literary prose. King likes to emphasize this point too, but doesn’t do it quite as succinctly.
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