Thursday, May 29, 2008

My writing week.

Hi all,

I've just filled in a writing survey on writing advice at:

http://www.aboygoesonajourney.com/
index.php?option=com_performs&formid=5

One of the questions it asks is: of the following, select which writing advice you have heard of
1 Write what you know
2 Stay away from all clich├ęs unless you’re writing parody
3 You must plan your story before writing
4 You must plot your story chapter by chapter before writing
5 You must have written at least *a certain amount* of words
6 You must read the genre you write in
7 If you read the genre you write in, you will unknowingly plagiarise. Stay away from it.
8 You must write every day, even if it’s bad
9 You should keep a journal
10 Write without caring
11 Write for the love of it, not for readers, not for publishers
12 You should write only for the market
13 Anyone can be a writer
14 Not everyone can be a writer. It’s a special gift.
15 Take advantage of every opportunity and query everyone (if your book is good enough, even a publisher who doesn’t deal in your genre will pass it on to someone who does, or even take it up)
16 All the stories have been told
17 Treat writing as a business – get dressed everyday, go into the office/study, and work your eight hours
18 Never submit work if you haven’t completed the novel
19 If you can’t convince an agent of your worth, you’ll never be published mainstream
20 You should start by writing short stories, and then when you develop better writing skills, move onto novel-length works

The only one I absolutely agree with is: 6 You must read the genre you write in, otherwise you could end up writing a story whose concepts have been done to death or is so wide of the mark for that genre that no publisher is going to touch your manuscript.

Some writing advice from George Orwell (courtesy of David Bofinger on Infinitas):

*Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
* Never use a long word where a short one will do.
* If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
* Never use the passive voice where you can use the active.
* Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
* Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous

I have agreed to critique the 117k word novel I mentioned in my last post. It will take a few weeks.

I am still writing every day, but not enough words and early bed times still interfere with the amount I am reading.

Graham.

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