Saturday, November 26, 2022

Don't Make a Fool of Yourself as a Writer

It's not uncommon for aspiring writers to have a fear of sharing their writing, because they fear that they'll make a fool of themselves, but Stephen King may have the solution, which is simply to read - a lot. Per Jon Winoker, Stephen King said:

“The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor. i.e., [laptop]” 

Monday, November 14, 2022

5 Traits Your Characters Need

Per Writing a Novel, there are [at least] five (5) traits your characters should possess:

#1 Physical Appearance

Does your reader know your character's eye color?

#2 Psychological Makeup 

Is your character a melancholy introvert or a sunny extrovert?

#3 Cultural Influences

Is your character a cultured New Yorker or an unrefined hillbilly?

#4 Moral Compass

Is your character cautious or "free" slash uninhibited?

#5 Social Contacts 

Does your character live in SoHo or SoBro?

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

3 Ways to Spice Up Your Novel’s Plot

There are, at least, three ways to spice up of your novel's plot:

  • Make a Shift by having a scene go from superb to super bad or vice versa
  • Expect the Unexpected by having something totally unpredictable appear 
  • Have a Eureka Moment by having your hero figure out something that was completely overlooked earlier in the novel

Monday, October 17, 2022

Three Ways to Develop Your Writing Style

With inspiration from Writing a Novel, I've compiled Three Ways to Develop Your Writing Style:

1. Expand your vocabulary by reading prolifically, and make your friend  

2. Don’t copy, but be inspired by your favorite author. And make an annotation when you read something that’s especially stylish

3. But do not overly focus on style, because having an engaging story is, in the end, more important

Monday, October 10, 2022

Obstacles to Writing a Novel

Inspired by Alice Sudlow's piece "10 Obstacles to Writing a Book and How to Conquer Them" posted on The Write Practice, I'm sharing four (4) obstacles to writing a novel slash book:

1. Fear 

Fear of writing can be overcome by having a purpose, because your desire to share your message should be stronger than your fear of failure

2. Time 

To manage your writing time, you may want to start by writing 30 minutes per day - everyday, which will come to about 15 hours per month

3. Faultfinding

To avoid finding fault with your writing, don’t edit during your 1st draft; however, do a brain dump and edit during subsequent draft(s)

4. Writer’s Block

To unblock your writing, write about something you’ve read, seen, heard and/or experienced and use your imagination and writing skills to turn that into art

Monday, September 26, 2022

Three (3) Ways to End It (i.e., a Novel)

Per Writing a Novel, there are (at least) three ways to end a novel:

#1 The protagonist wins and consequently the antagonist loses

#2 The protagonist loses but becomes a better person 

#3 The antagonist wins but, end the end, becomes a better person as well 

Overall, the endings are positive, which is similar to Seth Godin's stance, but contradictory to Nabokov's, that there should be a(n) (altruistic) message in writing. 

Seth Godin related that a writer's goal should be: "[...] marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority [via writing]."  

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Robert "Iceberg Slim" Beck: How to Rule an Audience as a Writer

Robert "Iceberg Slim" Beckafter spending over twenty years of his life as a pimp, became a famous and bestselling writer in the African-American community. Subsequently, his novels made him the most notorious (former) pimp in America. His most famous book, Pimp: The Story of My Life, is an autobiographical novel that was published in 1967 by the notorious Holloway House and sold millions of copies. Ironically yet unsurprisingly, Beck saw little of the money.

Like Nabokov, Beck visualized his characters in his head, he wrote for long hours (e.g., sometimes up to 18 hours per day), and, like Proust, Beck was a recluse. 

Justin Gifford's Street Poison, The Biography of Iceberg Slim and Ian Whitaker's Iceberg Slim The Lost Interviews sheds some very interesting light on Beck's writing habits and his views on writers and writing. 

For example, Beck opined that being a writer is better than being a physician or an attorney:

Writing books is better than pimping. In fact, it's better than being a doctor or a lawyer. I don't have to go to court, I don't have to go to the hospital to perform an operation. I have no equipment...I don't even need paper; I'll write on the walls. All of my equipment [tapping his head] is in my noggin. And another thing; writing has been a wonderful boon for me, psychologically. The vacuum of ego that existed when I could no longer pimp has been filled most adequately.

And Beck posited that to command an audience, a writer must be bare and confess:

[...] I've been able to do what any artist must do if he's to rule the greatest possible audience - and that is to bare his emotional structure to the bone [...] That is, I have overridden my inhibitions so I can confess. It springs from the soul, brother. So many people are dying and crying out to confess. But they lack the courage. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Do you HAVE to live in New York to be a Writer?

Like aspiring actors who, for obvious reasons, move to LA, a number of aspiring writers move or desire to move to NYC to be near other writers and (potential) agents and publishers, but, per Nebraska born novelist Willa Cather, storehouses of literary material can be found anywhere - even in Nebraska or a pigpen. Cather reportedly advised:

Of course Nebraska is a storehouse of literary material. Everywhere is a storehouse of literary material. If a true #artist were born in a pigpen and raised in a sty, he would still find plenty of inspiration for his work. The only need is the eye to see.

However, it must be noted that Cather moved to NYC at the age of 33 and lived here until she died at the age of 73. 

Monday, August 1, 2022

A Writer's Goal(s)

What's a good goal for a writer? Well, per Anne Marie Pace, a writer's goal should be to write a good book and not to win an award and/or be a New York Times Bestseller.

Anne Marie Pace advised:

"Set goals that you have control over—you can’t set a goal to win an award or to reach a certain level of sales. You can have a goal to write the best books you can."

And I would add that, like Seth Godin related, an additional writer's goal should be to be an altruistic writer: 

"[...] marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority [via writing]."  

Thus, go forth and write good books that spread beneficial ideas.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Writing: Talent vs Grit


Previously, we shared in a post that being a gritty writer may be more important than being a talented writer, because, as Duckworth spelled out in Grit:

talent x effort = skill 
skill x effort = achievement 
Thus, without effort, one's talent may not (fully) develop. And like the writer Gordon Lish reportedly said:
[...] talent [without effort] is quite irrelevant. I see instead perseverance, application [...] will, will, will, desire, desire, desire.