Writers’ Rite

A friend says: “How you write so many books is beyond my understanding.”

My reply may be of general interest, possibly even helpful:

Writing every day for a long period of time gives the illusion of high productivity to others. I started Sail Away on My Silver Dream about 1989, Sorcerer of Death Mountain in 1987, A True Map of the City 2009, Dirk’s Dark Circus 2015, In the Mouth of the Lion 2011, House of Many Spiders 2009, E_Sex Chapel 2005, Lawless 2007, Obliterator .850 1988, Out Brief Candele (sic) 2018, Temple of the Permutants 1988, Tenirax 2009. Only a few of these have been completed and published.

This omits, of course, my pre-retirement non-fiction books (3), post-retirement plays (22), and short works written since 1975 (40+). Having written for over 30 years, I’d like to think I’m ready to become an “overnight success.” But maybe you’d like a more specific, detailed account of how I did this. I prefer to give concrete information instead of handwaving like Bradbury’s famous “Write what you love.” Here goeth:

As above, write every day, if only 15 minutes.
Join a workshop. Present something every single week.
Insofar as you are inspired to do so, plan your stories.
Read books on writing (start with Science Fiction Handbook)
Always have a book you’re reading by a live author.
Cheat: take courses in writing. Community college is fine.
“Ponder the eternal whys and wherefores” (from Amanda)
Don’t drink or do drugs.
Get your typing speed up to ~40 wpm. (via internet site)
Keep a little notebook of nifty ideas for future work.
Enter new-to-you words in the little notebook. Learn them.
Do a daily crossword puzzle. NYT or equal.
Practice brainstorming (q.v.). Good for plot development.
Spend a few minutes every day thnking up ‘what-ifs.”
Write short fiction to get the basics under your belt.
Learn to think and write under noisy conditions.
As you write, see the scene as if through a camera.

I hope this is helpful. Questions? Comments?



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2 Responses to Writers’ Rite

  1. Junieper/Jesh stG says:

    Thanks for your comment:) Huh – I thought it was around 70 degr. there (talked to Hubs today in Whittier)?
    Am still unpublished, but when I read about the hero needing a character flaw, I remembered when someone started editing my novel, she complained, “I really don’t like your main person, she’s annoying!” I smiled, “You’ll see, she changes for the good.”

    • jguenther5 says:

      We’re about 1000′ elevation, here, a bit cooler with a steady breeze.

      Yeah, we’ve all had reader comments like that. The challenge is to make the reader identify with our MC. Yes, there must be a character arc, but you still need a Save the Cat Moment up front or some other behavior to attract the reader, even if it’s a special kind of naughtiness or anti-hero redeeming vice.

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