I don’t know if I’ve talked about it before (probably), but a big part of why I write is to provoke discussion. When it comes to advice, or my game journalism stuff for Save Game, I hope that I’m being informative and that people are getting benefits that way.
That’s not a general missive on the state of my being, but an expression of my state as it pertains to NaNoWriMo. I’m behind.
We are all exposed to stories. There’s few lives they haven’t touched, though the most troubling of them are to be shaken off as a mere collection of words. Words aren’t considered with the same weight as actions. Words against us should be shrugged away as unlike sticks or stones, it’s suggested they can’t hurt us.
As a writer, it’s your job to be understood. At the outset you can point to the act of writing and say “No, that’s my job.”
That’s also true.
Writing is usually a solo affair. We know that. For some, it’s one of the draws, giving us an excuse not to socialise. Personally I tend toward the interactive side, particularly when it comes to writing. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I love to talk about writing, storytelling and general creativity. If I were trying to keep that a secret, this blog wouldn’t be here.
There is a lot of romance attached with the idea and ideals of being a writer, and many images that have come to be associated with it due to the presentation of writers through different mediums. Though probably not the one featured on this post.
Is it a surprise to anyone that writing takes time? The quality changes with experience, but few wordsmiths can push out exactly what they want on the first go. Even if they could, it takes time, from the 5-10K of a short story through to ranges between 50-250K for either novellas, novels or tomes. There’s no escaping that.
When you spend enough time around writing, you reach a point where the tutorials don’t teach you anything new. At best they offer inspiration, and at worst, are a source of frustration for those reading them.
I was sure that I’d touched on this before. One of the most peculiar questions to me that I’ve had about writing, is why I even do it. Why write? The question was peculiar to me, because as someone that had spent decades working on stories (even if they amounted to little more than additional memories for me), I couldn’t really understand the question being one.
Once you’ve excised the not-so-great parts of your novel, give it a once-over to ensure there’s nothing left dangling.
Analogies. They’re always fun. When we do it in writing, we tend to use constructs such as similes, metaphors, and other ones that might exist but that I can’t think of. I once had someone stop reading a story I’d written because I’d used a metaphor to describe a creature as being similar to another animal, where they felt it should have been a simile. The illusion was shattered. He could read no more. No, it wasn’t a pretend raven.
Write What You Know.
I hate Write What You Know. What do we know, though? We know our lives. You can use factors of your life and turn that stale mantra into something helpful. Remember when you were sad that a-billion-times? Use it for a character. Know a shitload about tax law? Tough – I don’t want to read it.
Many people want to write. For a lot of them, there’s that one book they want to get out of their system. It’s their Wells meets Tolkien, their Heinlein meets Rowling, or some other combination of the styles of their favourite authors. It’s not always that, but it often is.