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  1. #1
    bcitsndslkSKEETSKEETSKEET keatskeatskeats's Avatar
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    Cool Writing Tips @ the Guardian

    some of this is interesting, some of it is fodder (as with all lists I suppose)

    part one: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010...ction-part-one

    part two: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010...ction-part-two

    Michael Moorcock

    1 My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other Arthurian fantasies and was: Read. Read everything you can lay hands on. I always advise people who want to write a fantasy or science fiction or romance to stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from Bunyan to Byatt.

    2 Find an author you admire (mine was Conrad) and copy their plots and characters in order to tell your own story, just as people learn to draw and paint by copying the masters.

    3 Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel.

    4 If you are writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all your major themes/plot elements are introduced in the first third, which you can call the introduction.

    5 Develop your themes and characters in your second third, the development.

    6 Resolve your themes, mysteries and so on in the final third, the resolution.

    7 For a good melodrama study the famous "Lester Dent master plot formula" which you can find online. It was written to show how to write a short story for the pulps, but can be adapted successfully for most stories of any length or genre.

    8 If possible have something going on while you have your characters delivering exposition or philosophising. This helps retain dramatic tension.

    9 Carrot and stick have protagonists pursued (by an obsession or a villain) and pursuing (idea, object, person, mystery).

    10 Ignore all proferred rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say.

  2. #2
    Damn fool idealist DailyRich's Avatar
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    "Good ideas are often murdered by better ones." -- Roddy Doyle

    That's a winner right there.

  3. #3
    LaerCarroll.com
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    When I became serious about writing I began a comprehensive study program that over a couple of years amounted to a micro-MFA in literature and creative writing. I also wrote much, reasoning that a writer writes. I ended up with five rules that over-rule all the others.
    _______________
    Savor life.

    Write what you love.

    Write often.

    Trim.

    Send it out.
    _______________
    If there is one rule that rules them all, it is the first - Savor life. Our experiences are the cloth and thread and buttons and trim of our profession.

    This includes us or people we know who have shown rare moments of true nobility, the most treasured parts of our lives, the most primal/pleasurable experiences.

    And it especially includes our bad experiences: the most shameful things we've done, experiences which sometimes still give us nightmares, the parts of ourselves that are our bitterest/crudest/most selfish/etc.
    Last edited by Laer Carroll; February 25th, 2010 at 01:50 PM.

  4. #4
    Amatuer Writer Nostra's Avatar
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    Oh my! I was just reading another article that mentioned this, hehe.

    The Writing Advice Industry.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/books...rticle1480041/

    I found it very interesting, and bit disturbing. It talk about "writing advice", and how it seems to be taking over.

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    It's actually quite brilliant how contradictory the advice given by those authors is:

    Geoff Dyer: "If something is proving too difficult, give up and do something else."

    Neil Gaiman: "Finish what you're writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it."

    And curious that Michael Moorcock is essentially encouraging fanfiction - "Find an author you admire (mine was Conrad) and copy their plots and characters in order to tell your own story" - given the hostility some authors have towards it - GRRM for one.

    I find it more reassuring than frustrating that nobody can agree on what makes a good novelist.

  6. #6
    LaerCarroll.com
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    Actually the Globe writer is cherry-picking the contradictions - there is much more agreement in the pieces of advice. Some of the "contradictions" aren't - the Globe writer misunderstood.

    And he quotes the tired cliche that readership is constantly diminishing - a comfortingly paranoid idea that seems to have been around for decades. In fact readership - at least in the US - has been slowly increasing for a long time. And the recent economic hard times have not hurt readership at all - quite the reverse.

    Readers may have changed the tone of the books they buy - and the movies they see - toward more escapist fare, perhaps. But books and movies are great comforters in hard times, and those who consume them are not about to give them up.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laer Carroll View Post
    Actually the Globe writer is cherry-picking the contradictions - there is much more agreement in the pieces of advice. Some of the "contradictions" aren't - the Globe writer misunderstood.
    I didn't read the Globe article. There is a lot of agreement among the ones on the Guardian, but they're mainly basic stuff like "read a lot of books"...

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