Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Writing Tips from Published Authors...

Q: Where do you turn for writing advice?
A: I tend to tell people asking me these questions to buy Bird by Bird or Telling Lies for Fun & Profit, and then pass on the advice I've summed-up from a hundred such conversations I've had with people you've actually heard of: "At some point you just have to put the books down and write something". If you want more nitty-gritty, detail stuff, that's why many writers keep blogs and I encourage you to check in on them from time to time and perhaps "follow" some of your favorites on Twitter. (And if that doesn't disabuse you of the notion that becoming a writer is lavish parties and fancy cars, nothing will. It's hard work and it's a business.)

Here are a few of my favorite online sources of information or musings that I found valuable...
  • Veteran suspense author and journalist David Hewson keeps a regular blog about writing and travel. Recently, he posted a great article about methods for the pesky task of keeping track of multiple characters amid multiple storylines, that gave me that "Yeah, me too" moment that makes me read other writers' blogs.
  • I really had to search for this one... Back in August of 2006, The Atlantic aggregated some of the Great Writing Advice that has been offered in the pages of their magazine and posted it here. Which goes to show that when you do find advice you value, don't lose track of where you put it. (In my case, I had it printed out and had to go back and find where it might yet reside online.)
  • I was there for this one... At the PNWA conference, James Rollins handed out some sage advice that one of my fellow attendees blogged. Rather than reinvent the wheel (or re-blog the conference) I'll give you a link to his summary of James Rollin's excellent advice. Advice we all should heed more often than we do.
  • And of course, there's always the genius of Neil Gaiman. The man's chockful of advice. Some of it's even about writing.
Notice that with the exception of Mr Hewson's musings on keeping characters straight in a convoluted story, most of it can be summarized with the words: "Writers write, if you're not writing, you're not a writer"? There's a reason for that, and a reason that this blog is titled "Pages to type before I sleep". Which reminds me. I have writing to do before I can get some shuteye.

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Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).