At Work

At Work
If you wanna be a writer you gotta be a reader.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

So You Want To Write

Or more like you have a need to write?  That's a very good thing; it means (1) you're not dead, and (2) you have something to say.  About the world.  About the people in it. About your place in it.  Most people don't feel a need to express themselves or to examine their own lives (which is what writing is really all about).  So a tip o' the hat to you no matter what level you're at in your attempts to write and publish.

That said, let me list a few things that might help you along the way.  Earlier blog entries address most of these in more detail, so we'll consider this a kind of grocery list for the would-be writer:

1.  You should be reading.  A lot.   Read in the genre in which you hope to publish--read in volume, as if you're carbo-loading for  marathon (which writing a novel nearly always is).

2.  But when you're writing, stop reading.   Reading other authors' work while writing your own manuscript can cause hair loss, hives, headaches, nausea and low self-esteem.  It can also wreck your literary voice not say your prose style.  Don't read anybody and don't listen to anybody while you're writing.  Stay focused.  Your novel, your short story--it has to be all you.

3. Everybody who wants to write does so because they have Ideas.  But a good idea does not a good novel make.  It's in the How you write.

3a.  Or, as Alexander Pope wrote, "True ease in writing comes from art, not chance/As those move easiest who have learned to dance."   There's walking (writing sentences and paragraphs) which most of can do, and there's dancing (writing smooth-flowing expressive sentences), which precious few people have mastered.

4.  In other words, your goal is to Tell A Good Story but you must tell it well.   The true goal is a Good Story, Well Told.  And the latter is more difficult than the former.

5.  So after you've got your story clear in your head, after you know where it's going, now you have to focus on delivery.  That is, your fictional style.  This part takes times and practice, but is what, if you "get it"--if you take the time to see the subtleties in really good writing--will  separate you from the millions of people who, like you, just want to write.

(Look deeper in this blog for more on Fictional Style.)


  1. I've been trying to write on blogs, but i have no idea how to construct a proper fictional story.
    Glad you've shared these ideas..

    Best regards,


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