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JRMurdock
June 14th, 2004, 12:25 AM
We've all read books on how to write. We've all been in this forum getting advice on what to do. We've all got the same dream (I think). We all love writing.

So, what was the best advice that was ever given to you and where'd it come from?

Myself -- prior to ever putting pen to paper -- was watching (as I often do) two brothers have a conversation. One was a good friend of mine, Jeff, the other was his strugging writer-strugging writer brother Todd. Todd was explaining to Jeff that he needed to write to get better. He needed to 'lock himself up' for at least a year and just write everything and anything he could think of to get better at writing. Jeff, as he often did, sat back and let Todd babble on about how he'd met Anne Rice and gotten advice from her that was going to make him famous (he was 18 and full of life mind you, he hadn't gotten his first rejection yet).

When Todd was done. Jeff said something profound and changed the way I looked at writing. He said 'Todd, to write about life, you must experience life. If you lock yourself up for a year and write, you'll only be able to write about you. You need to get out there and meet people. Talk to them. Watch people. See what real people do in real situations. Then, you'll be able to write about it.' Have you ever seen anyone actually deflate? Todd did. And he smiled as he did. Jeff was right.

To this day, despite all the books I've read, all the movies I've seen, and all the advice I've read, this small bit hangs with me the most. What's yours?

funky_fantasist
June 14th, 2004, 04:45 AM
Two bits of advice which I hold dear.

Firstly, from David Gemmell. "Remember, the reader is 'blind' " i.e never make assumptions that the reader is seeing in their minds eye what you are seeing in yours.

And secondly (slightly similar also) from my DH:
This occured when I had written a section I was so pleased with and excited about that I shoved it under his nose as soon as he stepped through the door & demanded that he read it! :rolleyes: (bless him, he has a lot to put up with!) He took the pages away and read them and came back with very negative comments. I squealed indignantly - "but you're missing my point!" to which he replied: "No, I am the reader - YOU are the writer. If I am missing the point, you have not made your point adequately."

Ouch! Stirling advice hurts sometimes! I had to forgive him though once I grudgingly admitted to myself he was right, dammit! ;)


I agree with you about going out in the world, observing and enjoying it - people are amazing things and they never fail to surprise and/or inspire.

Cheers
Funky
:D

kahnovitch
June 14th, 2004, 04:50 AM
to write about life, you must experience life. If you lock yourself up for a year and write, you'll only be able to write about you. You need to get out there and meet people. Talk to them. Watch people. See what real people do in real situations. Then, you'll be able to write about it.'

Very good advice there. When I was writing prolifically (a long time ago) I spend half my life indoors writing the other half out and about doing exactly what your friend Jeff advised.

The only thing I can remember of any use was from an American journalist/ freelance writer I used to drink with.
I told him about my writing aspirations and he asked;
"So what about when you start getting rejections. When would you call it a day and give up?"

"Never." I said, " Just keep on going."

He smiled and just said "Good! because quitters don't win, and winner's don't quit."

It's a cliched old phrase, but it sums up the writers plight quite well.

juzzza
June 14th, 2004, 05:44 AM
Write what you know...

... Or rather about things, people, situations that you know about.

Compliments the sentiment above really, get out there and observe and write about it.

I think Stephen King mentioned that to me over lunch one day.*





*I was eating lunch whilst reading his book 'On writing'.

Holbrook
June 14th, 2004, 07:27 AM
If you can't dare - you won't. That's the first thing to realize. Janny Wurts

You are a story teller, so tell the *** **** story! HE

KatG
June 14th, 2004, 10:56 AM
The best advice I've gotten is from a book I haven't actually had a chance to read yet -- Anne LaMott's "Bird by Bird," and it's the story of where the title of the book came from. Apparently, when they were young, the author's brother had to write a report on several species of birds. The brother left it till the last minute to do the report and was in despair about managing and finishing the report the night before it was due. LaMott's father supposedly said to him, "just take it bird by bird, son, one bird at a time."

This, it seems to me, is valuable advice for writing and for life as well. :)

juzzza
June 14th, 2004, 11:22 AM
"just take it bird by bird, son, one bird at a time."



My moto when it comes to the 'ladies'...

Sorry KAT, couldn't resist. ;)

Jacquin
June 14th, 2004, 12:58 PM
I've been trying my best not to post in this thread... Ok I failed.

All I can think when I see the title is "Don't eat yellow snow"

I'm sorry :(

J

JRMurdock
June 14th, 2004, 01:03 PM
Neat, a fan of Frank Zappa! :)

revenant
June 14th, 2004, 04:32 PM
my eng102 prof told me the exact same thing.