Writing Myths

Posted: January 13, 2012 in Wednesday's Writing Tip
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There’s a lot of bullshit communicated about successfully writing a novel. if you heed much of it you’ll get paralyzed and never be able to finish your own work of fiction.

The truth is that writing a book isn’t joining the Marines, it isn’t Transcendental Meditation nor is it discovering cold fusion. It has more to do with cleaning your basement, building a bird house or creating a garden in your backyard.

In other words it involves some planning, some trial and error and quite a bit of time on task.

It doesn’t require any of this crap:

Large amounts of uninterrupted time in a beautiful oak paneled office.

I write before my day job in between hound bays and getting up every 7 minutes to act as the uniformed doorman for my three four legged VIPs

You must have a completely formed idea, outlined neatly with Roman numerals, bullet points and color coded categories.

Actually, you need an idea. Then another idea of where to go. Do that for 300 pages and you get a book.

You can’t start your book until you go on police ride-a-longs, volunteer on the local SWAT team or travel to Rome to interview the custodian at the Vatican for your story background.

This is fiction. You make this shit up. Read an article, go to Wikipedia and then start writing.

You must write only when the muse comes to visit you.

Good luck with that. It’s plain crap.

You can’t finish because you’re blocked.

You’re not a colon and you don’t get blocked. You stop working. If what comes next to you isn’t obvious then you have to problem solve, do some trial and error and rewrite. It’s work.

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Comments
  1. youngink says:

    You summed it up nicely.

  2. Great advice and can be applied to all forms of writing. There are a lot of people out there selling how-to-write books. Most have little to say that is helpful. The best advice I ever heard was ‘place ass to chair, but even that rule can, as you noted, become a trap. Crap, most fiction starts with an interesting sentence which when mulitiped becomes a paragraph and so on. Poetry is the same way. Just a word or phrase gets the show on the road. What stops most writing is thinking what is coming out does not live up to some preconceived notion.

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