Tips on Writing Fiction
When I tell people that I'm a writer, in general, a few things happen. Almost always, I get a bizarre look in return that implies, "You're kidding, right?" The most puzzling thing to me about this initial response is that it is almost always followed by this response, "You know? I've always wanted to be a writer." Really? Then why don't you write? This routine usually morphs into an insane amount of beer drinking and long discussions about dashed hopes and crushed dreams of not pursuing a literary career by the person who started this conversation in the first place. I'm always being prodded for writing tips whether from Twitter followers or bar patrons or acquaintances who know that I've been a writer for almost 20 years (oof!) and I have a decent amount of literary output and byline credits to show for it. Do I mind talking about? I don't mind one bit.
You may be asking yourself (if you're curious at all about the writing process), "Who the hell does this asshole think he is? Who gave him the 'Writer Know-It-All' badge?" In which I would reply, "Ummm. You're quite hostile." I do not claim to be a Samurai Master of Writing. I do not go on lecture tours and show Power Point presentations about the structure of genre novels. I do not wear a monocle and a smoking jacket while sitting in a leather recliner and pontificate about iambic pentameter in Shakespearean plays. I do not claim to be anything but a writer who is asked a lot of questions about writing from people who are truly curious about writing. I enjoy the writing process or, better said, MY writing process. I enjoy the satisfaction that comes from completing a writing project, whatever it may be, from blog post to short story to novel. I most particularly like the responses from readers that enjoy my written work. It is very satisfying to me. Have I made a gazillion dollars as a writer? No. Am I famous? No. Do I know what I'm doing? Yes. Do you trust me? Who knows but goddamn it, I'm going to write about writing. It will be fun. Do I have credentials? Yes, I have a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin in which I wrote an honor's thesis on the narrative strategies of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Do I have an agent? Not right now but I had one a couple of years ago and I'm currently looking for a new one. Have I been published? Yes. Blah blah blah blah... let's get on with it. OK? Let's go!
I'm going to split this blog post about writing into a few posts, maybe 3, maybe 4, I haven't decided yet but there will be a few. This particular post will be about some writing tips. There will be another about the writing process, my process, then one with frequently asked questions about writing and writers. Ready?
The following "writing tips" were born out of a message from a Twitter follower who asked me to give a writing tip to her then the rest of them spilled out in the form of a few Tweets later that day. They appear in no particular order of importance except for #9 which needs to be last in this group of tips. In all honesty, there are hundreds of great writing tips but these are some that popped into my head that day. Here they are: