What advice would you give to writers?
June 12, 2014
A WEEK OR SO AGO, we featured a blog on Caleb and Linda Pirtle about one writer’s thoughts about the writing profession.
It inspired one of our authors – Alicia Butcher Eherhardt – to pen some of her own ideas and perceptions about the writing game.
On Caleb and Linda Pirtle, we are serializing Alicia’s novel, Pride’s Children, three days a week.
It’s a romance.
It’s a love story.
It’s a story of obsession.
She is a really good writer, and here are the tips Alicia would pass on to others who live with words.
Real life is very limited – go into your mind and don’t come out.
Net surfing rarely gives you anything, but when it does, oh boy! Prepare to be blown away.
Wait until your brain kicks on. If it does, race to container the deluge.
If you can’t write something as simple as a blog post, go take a nap. Your brain isn’t capable of fiction.
If you come across the same thing thrice in a week, ask yourself if you were looking for it – and if you could somehow use it. It is a gift from the Universe.
Don’t trust other writers. They give you advice that works for them.
Find a few good readers. Hope like hell they won’t let you get away with anything. Praise them when they don’t.
Always have a timer running. The beep will startle you out of ruts, give you a second to make a better choice.
Catch your typing mistakes as you make them, and put the fear of God into them. They are less likely to do it again.
That will have to do for now – I have to go write!
She asked me for my thoughts.
So here are a few.
Novels are about life and nothing else.
Life is fiction.
Great stories have two basic themes at their core: Life and Death or Love and Death, and maybe there is no difference between the two.
Every novel begins with a hook on the first page, preferably the first paragraph. Give me a reason to read the next page.
Every chapter in a novel begins with a hook and ends with either a punch line or a cliffhanger. Give me a reason to read the next chapter.
I don’t remember plots. I never forget fascinating characters.
When you crawl inside your hero’s head, you let the reader crawl inside the novel.
Don’t make the reader feel as though he or she is standing on the outside looking in. Grab them by the napes of their necks and drag them into the story.
When the characters are frightened, your readers should be frightened too. If the readers aren’t scared, you’re characters aren’t really scared either no matter how many times you say they are.
When the hero or heroine cries, your readers better be reaching for a tissue.
When you begin a novel, sit down and write “The End.” Then see how many twists and turns it takes to get there.
When you begin a novel, sit down and write “The End.” And don’t quit until you get there.
When you have nothing to say, write anyway. By the time you finish, you may have found something to say.
Want to write a novel? Don’t think you have time? Write only three pages a day every day and at the end of six months you have a novel. Now six months are going to pass. At the end of it, you can either have a novel or still be wishing you did.
A writing coach much smarter than I once said that every novel should begin with a crisis that leads to a decision or a decision that leads to a crisis.
I can’t say it any better than that.
You’ve heard what we think, so now please let us hear your thoughts, ideas, and perceptions about writing.