Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Indie Block Party Post 7: Writing Tips

Let's continue with the second week of the Indie Block Party. Indie authors have gathered to talk about... Indie author stuff, like writing and stories and trying not to bored the readers, you should check them out HERE it might be fun.
Today I'm supposed to give you some writing tips. I think I'm being mean by telling people what (not) to do.

I think the first tips I can give to someone who wants to write is to WRITE and I also think it's not only a good advice for writers but it goes for everyone else. You want to do physics, DO PHYSICS, you want to play basketball, well PLAY BASKETBALL. I mean why not? That's what most successful people actually do, you can't be a writer if you don't write.

The second tips is the one I usually get yelled at for but in the end I don't really mind anymore because it doesn't mean it doesn't work, it just mean people are to self-conscious and righteous to actually take it (seriously): write it (your story, novel, PhD thesis, whatever) as badly as you can. And yes, I'm absolutely serious about that, I'm not a funny person. This is the best advices I was ever given, I read it on All Japanese All The Time. Technically, why would you even bother to have the grammar, tenses, well chosen words on a first draft that will dramatically be changed in the second rewrite and editing (there is no saving time on editing for later, that just doesn't exist). Trying to make things perfect the first time is 1) not going to happen, 2) a waste of your time 3) getting you all stressed out... 

The third tips is to get the first draft done with no matter how bad it is. It is really easy to give up on a story if you only managed to write 5 brilliant, spotless, perfect pages, (really?) It is a lot harder to give up on 50k words, 100k words, 153858 words (I need to finish that one)...

The fourth tips is to read writing advices on internet and NOT to take them. I use to believe that I didn't know what I was doing and so I would read other people's advices and take them all and apply them all. The problem is, the more you read advices on writing, the more you find out that they are contradictory, at time irrelevant, and that people giving them can totally be mistaken (including me!) Read those advices, go back to a book you really love and see if the writer there use it or not. If he doesn't, you can ditch it. That goes especially for advices you actually didn't like in the first place. ;) (Example: Never, ever put the name of a character in the first sentence of your book! Wait? What? Open Tom Sawyer)

The fifth tips is that every words count. This is true if you are participating to writing context like NaNoWriMo but it is also true when editing. I read a lot of post telling you to stop using verbs like "fell, like, wonder..." and to put a description instead so that it can be more precise and let the reader experience exactly what the character experience. I have mix feelings about that kind of advices. It might be good as an exercise to help you develop a sense for details but it doesn't mean those words should be annihilated. There are times in the story when you need them. If the reader already know the details there is no need to push them back some more when a single verb can do the trick. Be wise and careful when choosing your words and style. Ask yourself how many times you use those words in conversation.

The sixth tips is don't ask other people for ideas. It's your world you are creating, why would you need someone's else vision of it? It's your job to actually think about all the details, why the hell are you taking a short cut and asking someone else to do the job for you, they might as well write your novel while they are at it. If you can't figure out what is happening next in your own story or why the bad guy is a bad guy, nobody can, the story just takes a turn for the worse and you'll get stuck again later cause you were trying to write from someone else's mind. That's not brilliant. Plus it takes away all the fun of writing. If stuck, just you re-plot the all thing, not someone else.

The seventh tips is don't write to please anyone else but yourself. Even if no one else read those story, you created something extraordinary. Those characters will give you love when no one else does.

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  1. The contradictory advice is so true. There are just too many ideas out there and some works for some and some works for others. Other than the advice to write, all, the, time... I'd say the rest of the bulk of rules are really heuristics. They could work, something worth considering, but it isn't hard and fast.