Monday, March 22, 2010

The Dangers of Checklists & Writing Advice...

This post from the blog of mystery author Elizabeth Spann Craig reminds me to underline the point that any writing advice I give here is strictly my opinion.  There isn't a "right way" to do this and in the end (as I've said many times) it boils down to putting your butt in a chair and putting words on a page. 

The chair is optional. 

There are structural things that work better than others, there are ways of starting that seem to attract more readers than others and ways of ending and unfolding your story that seem to work better than others.  But you really should learn those by feel, not by rote -- by reading books, not reading books (or blogs) about how to write.

How do you start your novel?  By putting words on the page.  Even if they're the wrong ones, put words on a page.  It's like parenting, if you wait until you're sure about everything, it'll never happen.  Writers aren't people who talk about writing, they're people who write.  Everything else in writing advice columns, blogs and books borders on the waking the dread hooptedoodle.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a novel waiting for me behind this screen and I need to get back to it.

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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).