Fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us.

Monday, March 14, 2011

For New Writers

I recommend the following:
1. write
2. write
3. write

Read novels and some "how to" guides. Stephen King's "On Writing" is excellent. So is Anne Lamott”s "Bird by Bird." Join a local writer's group in your area because like all addictions, writing requires company.

Google is your friend so that when you hear terms like POV or character arc or talking heads -- just Google the term and you'll learn all sorts of stuff. For example, one of my critique partners told me I write in noir style. Well, I kinda sorta knew what noir film was about, but not really. You know, those dark, depressing B movies from the forties, right? Well, I Googled it to see what he was talking about and found a great article on Wikipedia that explained the whole thing in detail. Turns out my critique partner was right. Without studying noir, I had somehow developed that style -- probably from watching old movies. Now that I know what noir is and that it's the way I like to write, I'm better able to focus my writing in that direction. This allows me to write to my strengths.

There's more than enough to learn to fill a book. Hundreds of books in fact. Bet your local library has some books on writing that will help you in getting started.

About college: if you've never been, then try some writing courses at your local community college. The college experience is worth the investment plus you might just learn something while you're there. If you've been, you probably will do just as well saving your money and joining a writer's group. My writer's group has two English majors, a nuclear physicist, two technology geeks, two attorneys, a biology major who somehow ended up becoming a professional trade publication editor and now is a writer/editor by profession. So a writing or English background isn't necessary, but you do have to be willing to learn the craft.

And remember, it's fun so have fun. Otherwise, why do it?

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