Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Don't forget the others

A big help in this whole writing process has been with other people have written. But this time, I'm not talking about the links I've made to other blogs or web sites or all that good stuff.

Read other books. It's tough when I want to write, write, write all the time, but when I'm not writing, some of that time has been spent reading. I'm reading whatever I can get my hands on, and pretty much everything I've read since going gung-ho with this book at the beginning of August has helped me.

Don't forget all those fantastic words that have been written before your fantastic words. They're a big help. After all, those dudes and dudettes got published, so why not follow their lead? Well, sort of. We're not talking stealing their goods here.

The biggest things I've learned, from my reading are these three nuggets:

1) You don't have to describe everything. Yes, we all can write wonderfully descriptive flowery stuff about how a garden looks or how a school needs a fresh coat of paint. People know what that stuff looks like, you don't have to tell them. Leave in only the stuff important to the story. I've been in a bar. So have you, or you've seen one on TV. I don't need to tell you about every stool and neon light on the walls.

2) Talk the talk. People don't speak in perfect English. Not even people in England. Nervous kids stutter. Drunk guys slur. High school kids swear and say stupid phrases that don't make sense to older people. Make it real.

3) Backstory is important, but keep it tight. A lot of books tell you what got so-and-so to this point, but they don't waste a lot of time on it. Readers want to know where the heck Capt. Protagonist is headed and why. Where he's been? If it was so important to spend gobs of time on, wouldn't we have written a book about that stuff? Stick to the basics when talking about the past. It keeps things moving.

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