Monday, February 17, 2014

From the Vault :: Writerly Advice

Every Monday we post a reading/writing-related question for our followers, and at the end of the month, one lucky commenter is selected to choose a title from our Vault. Whatever we have available: ARCs, signed books, awesome new releases... OR the monthly winner may select any one book to be ordered for him/her from the Book Depository

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Today's Question ~ What’s the best bit of writerly advice you’ve ever received?


Tracey - I can’t remember the exact quote, but in my less eloquent words it goes something like this: Don’t compare your first draft to someone else’s published book. 

Jaime - It’s not writerly advice exactly, more like life advice, but this always gives me a boost: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill… I think we can all agree that this is relevant to writers both published and unpublished.

Matthew - Read, write, critique. Do as much of all 3 as you can.

Alison - Anne Lamott’s (Bird by Bird) advice on “shitty first drafts”: “The first draft is the down draft—you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft—you fix it up.”
She has a lot of other awesome words of writer wisdom, but this advice was particularly validating and comforting.  

Sarah - Ever?? Wow. I guess pretty much just keep writing. Because your writing will get better even if you're not trying to grow, and because the habit of writing becomes a lot easier the more you do it.

Alexandra - You can’t be a writer if you don't read.

Katy – Hemingway said: Write drunk; edit sober, which is pretty awesome. I also try to keep Joseph Chilton Pearce’s to live a creative life, we must first lose our fear of being wrong in the back of my mind anytime I’m writing or revising.

Copil - Heard something from Chuck Palahniak recently that I liked. He suggests not using thought verbs (knows, understands, thinks, believes) for six months, and instead using sensory details (action, taste, smell, sound, and feeling) to describe what it is your characters believe. It's a variation on "show, don't tell" that makes sense, even if it's really challenging.

Leigh - Don't throw anything away. In this case, that translates to "don't delete it!" You might write a whole day and be convinced it's nothing but garbage. Save that garbage in a special folder. You never know what diamonds are hidden in the rough. (And it might not be that bad once you sleep on it, Loaf.)

Erica - Get to the end. It doesn't matter what it looks like, just get to the end.

CZ - The best way to break procrastination is to just start writing. When I sit down and write a sentence, I rarely write just one sentence. It'll often expand into a few paragraphs, and then possibly pages.

Your turn! What’s the best writerly advice you’ve ever received?


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