Thursday, May 19, 2016

Practical Tips on Writing a Book

Practical Tips on Writing a Book from Sylvia Boorstein, Author of Happiness is An Inside Job and It’s Easier Than You Think

When I settle into writing, i.e. proposal signed, accepted, etc., I…

  1. Do not open email until 5pm on any weekday or other day when I expect to be writing much of the day.

  1. Do not read other people’s work on the same subject. That might be hard for you, since you are collecting research data, but I say very little about what other people have said or thought. They’ve already said or thought it.

  1. I am VERY selective about having other people read it as I go along other than my editor, and that only when I have enough written to feel secure that I have found my voice.

  1. When I do not like how what I’m writing is sounding, I quit. I leave the computer. I do something else, like cook soup. I “hear” what I am about to type before I type it and if it is not sounding like me naturally talking, I know I am not clear or balanced enough to go on.

  1. I do not write from the beginning to the end. I write in the order that particular parts take form in my mind and I enjoy mulling them over… I mull and mull and imagine I am explaining them to someone and then I write them down. I have the order in mind, so I write whatever part is bubbling energetically in my mind, print it out (always) and begin a stack on THE BOOK on a corner of my desk into which I can add pieces (in their proper order) as they get written and so I have a visible proof at all times that something is happening.

  1. I take the due date for the first draft EXTREMELY seriously, like everything depends on that day. It makes the project energetically alive for me, like a James Bond five-minutes-and-fifty-two-seconds until the whole world blows up movie and even if the draft is finished a week early I push the SEND button just after 12AM on the day it is due. Theatrical, I know, but I learned it from a friend of mine whom I admire as being a fine writer who prides himself on doing that.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

P.D. James: 5 Bits of Writing Advice

P.D. James: 5 Bits of Writing Advice

P.D. James lives in the pantheon of the great writers of crime fiction. She is most famous for the creation of Scotland Yard’s Detective Inspector Adam Dalgliesh, who appears in over a dozen novels. One can read her books for both their diabolically clever plots and their cunning insights into human nature. And she possesses a literary finesse rare among genre writers.

5 Bits of Writing Advice
1.   Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft. The greater your vocabulary the more effective your writing. We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world. Respect it.

2.   Read widely and with discrimination. Bad writing is contagious.

3.   Don't just plan to write—write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.

4.   Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.

5.   Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other people. Nothing that happens to a writer—however happy, however tragic—is ever wasted.