Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Reasons people don't try
Hard to believe I've been a published writer since 1968, I began writing seriously before then and wish I'd been able to drive more than two hours to take classes in writing. Wasn't possible at the time but I did the next best thing. I purchased a copy of Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain and read this over and over again. When I went to my bookshelves to find my weathered copy to use to find inspiration for the Wednesday's Writer's Tip, I realized I had loaned the book to a budding writer perhaps five years ago and the book hadn't been returned. For Christmas I received some gift cards and used one of then to buy a new copy so I'll be using this to provide writer's tips for the next few weeks and maybe even months.
This book starts with reasons people don't think they can write. I do believe I suffered from them all when I began. So let's start on those reasons.
Reality checks. I didn't really think I could learn to write fiction since most of my time had been spent with non-fiction. But I began and learned I could. First efforts weren't great but there was the spark. Of course like all beginning writers I started looking for someone to wave a wand and by magic I'd turn into a writer. Wrong. What happened was with each draft the story became better. Learned there was no easy or hard way to learn how to craft stories. I did spend time analyzing other people's stories and that became boring because I learned they weren't me. One of the hardest things I found was putting emotions into stories. Still have this problem at times. Have learned to think about how I felt and try to put my feelings into the character's thoughts and words. Then I came upon rules. In school I'd had a firm grounding in the rules of grammar. My first efforts played by those rules I'd learned. Then I noticed that I wanted to break the rules. Use partial sentences. Start sentences with And of But. Omit commas or add them. One problem remains from my days of breaking the rules. I forget question marks. Fortunately most of the time the spell check on the computer finds them. Not all though. Another area I had to look at was fact finding. Those long boring passages that read like non-fiction and bogged the story down. Pages of description about a person, place or thing. I had to learn to scatter rather than disgorge. Actually what I really learned was the more you write, hopefully the better writer you become. And that is what I did but finding Mr. Swain's book really set me on the road to becoming published.
How about you? Have you discovered the same things I have?