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Monday, June 22, 2015

It’s all about those Words.

The tune by Meghan Trainor sticks in my mind. Catchy, unique, with a definite hook. Kinda like a good novel.

This week, it’s all about those words. The ones that make up a good read. From B.I.C. to editing. And a challenge to any courageous enough to take me on.

Today, it’s about routines, Squirrels, and discussions.

Stephen King not only writes good books but also gives back to the writing community, a behavior common in our profession. On Writing and his top twenty rules for writers is the best example.

The first ten:

1. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”

2. Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”

3. Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend.”

4. Avoid adverbs, especially after “he said” and “she said.”

5. But don’t obsess over perfect grammar. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.”

6. The magic is in you. “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”

7. Read, read, read. ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

8. Don’t worry about making other people happy. “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

9. Turn off the TV. “TV—while working out or anywhere else—really is about the last thing an aspiring writer needs.”

10. You have three months. “The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.”

Note the last tip. Say you are shooting for a 90 K novel. That’s a thousand words every day. It’s possible.

It IS possible.

And now, my first challenge of the week. Pick a day. Tell me when you are starting and write a thousand words a day for ninety days. No excuses. Just do it.

I pick Saturday, June 27. I do declare that I will write at least one thousand words a day, thirty thousand in one month.

What about you? Are you ready to lift your chin, grit your teeth, and take this challenge? 
Well? Are you?

For the rest of the twenty tips,

11. There are two secrets to success. “I stayed physical healthy, and I stayed married.”

12. Write one word at a time. “Whether it’s a vignette of a single page or an epic trilogy like ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ the work is always accomplished one word at a time.”

13. Eliminate distraction. “There’s should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with.”

14. Stick to your own style. “One cannot imitate a writer’s approach to a particular genre, no matter how simple what that writer is doing may seem.”

15. Dig. “Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible.”

16. Take a break. “You’ll find reading your book over after a six-week layoff to be a strange, often exhilarating experience.”

17. Leave out the boring parts and kill your darlings. “(kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.)”

18. The research shouldn’t overshadow the story. “Remember that word back. That’s where the research belongs: as far in the background and the back story as you can get it.”

19. You become a writer simply by reading and writing. “You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”

20. Writing is about getting happy. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.”


Charity Bradford said...

I love this! And the challenge is perfect timing for me. With two wips 1000 words is perfect. I'm going to start tomorrow, Tuesday, June 23 (cause there's just too much today). However, I will do 1000 words every day Monday through Friday (unless I can sneak in writing on Saturday). My family has requested I don't write on the weekends but pay attention to them. *eye roll* LOL, they don't have any idea how two days not writing can derail story progress.

Anyway, if anyone wants to take this challenge, it's easily combined with Camp Nano that starts in July, AND I have a weekly blog hop called Birth of a Novel where you can report your progress. Here's where you can sign up for that. Birth of a Novel

Bish Denham said...

Wonderful advice. Particularly about writing for yourself.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I really love On Writing and find it one of the most inspiring writing books out there. I think #6 and #7 are my favorites.

Liz A. said...

As I've been pathetically single my whole life, I resent #11. If I could be married, I would! (Staying well physically is something that is good to remember, though.) (Sorry, that's a sore spot for me. Very sore.)

It's a nice concept, writing a draft in 3 months. And I wish you all luck. But, 1) That's not how I work (I tried it; it doesn't work for me), and 2) I'm editing right now, and that's going really well.

The rest of the list is good advice.

Huntress said...

Charity: a thousand words a day is reasonable. It's the sitting down, buckling down, slapping myself upside the head that needs done.

Bish: King's advice about how to write a novel in ninety days and the rules about adverbs that I love.

karen: One of the best books on writing evah! Writing Toools by Roy Peter Clark is another great one. It is well-loved...coffee stains, dog-earred, etc.

Lis: I think King means he managed to *stay* married not that he needed to get married in order to succeed. Probably has something to do with his personal issues.

The three months idea is a goal and will take some determination on my part. I've slipped out of the writer mode and it shows. I clawing my way back to that level.

Unknown said...

I have King's book on my writing advice shelf. Good stuff! What a great challenge too! I have to finish the edits on my current novel before I can start book 2 in the series.

Stacie Dempsey said...

I'm in and I'm starting TODAY! I'm a teacher working on my first novel so I like the idea of finishing a draft in 3 months. Perfect project with summer vacation lying ahead of me! Thanks for sharing this, and good luck everyone!