Where is all the writerly wisdom?

Well, Easter’s been a darn fine time. There’s been chocolate, there’s been tea cakes, and the cat has been in a spectacularly epic bad mood which culminated in savaging the mother in law (but at least it didn’t require a trip to the Emergency Room… let’s not talk about the last time that happened…)

And, what’s more, there’s been extra days off from the daily grind, like the weekend just decided that enough was finally enough and went on a bender with Friday and Monday, only to be discovered a few days later handcuffed to a lamppost and talking to goats.

So between stuffing my face to the point of no return, I’ve been on a writing stint – with Grind Spark out being copyedited and the new work in progress hitting the 10k word count mark – and all in all it’s coming together better than two lovelorn horny pelicans (yeah, man, they are beasts).

And in my trawls of the internet, I’ve been coming across a lot of writing advice that tells me all about how to

WRITE A BESTSELLER IN 30 SECONDS

or

10 WAYS TO COMPLETELY OWN THE AMAZON KINDLE CHARTS WITH YOUR AMAZING NOVEL

or

WRITE YOUR BOOK USING THIS TEHNIQUE OR YOU ARE BEING A COMPLETE AND UTTER IDIOT

And it got me to thinking about what advice I’ve had that was worth more than a pinch of salt, that was worth a shit-tonne of fucking gold.

And here would be the highlights:

  1. Chuck Wendig, author of many fantastic books including Blackbirds, wearer of phenomenal beard, and wise, swearing soothsayer. He runs a blog at www.terribleminds.com, including news, writerly advice, and, well, bloody damn fine interesting snippets. If you are an aspiring writer you could do well to check out his blog and associated works.
  2. Stephen King’s book On Writing. Not just a book full of useful tips and techniques, but a fascinating insight into the man himself.
  3. I’ve recently been reading a lot of stuff from www.LitReactor.com. One of my favourite articles is on knowing the rules and breaking them, and it’s well worth a read. Check out the Ten Worst Pieces of Writing Advice here.
  4. My mum. Yeah, I know, you have complete permission to barf up the entire contents of your stomach sack – all I’m saying is I’ve only got the one bucket so pass it around, you’ll just have to try and avoid too much acid carrot splashback. But yeah, she’s an author who’s been published in L Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future and she’s ruthless to the core in her editing and critique. She’ll read everything I write if I ask her to, and she’ll rip it apart and dig it a grave if it needs doing. And she’ll still ask for more. So, thanks ma. (And no, she’s busy right now writing and working through a stack of my writing so you’ll have to join the queue).

But for all of that, the best advice I’ve had so far, is to READ HARD and WRITE HARD.

And, in the words of the eminent Chuck Wendig, to finish your shit.

If you want to write, and you want to write well, there really ain’t no other way.

But what advice have you had? Have you got an internet writing guru? Where do you get your writerly words of wisdom?

Hit me up in the comments below – we all need a few tips and technique kicks to the ribs at some point, right?

In other, non-related news: The Dust Lounge now has it’s own Facebook page. Just sayin’ *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

Grind Spark – out now

Longlisted for the Bath Novel Award 2014, Grind spark is a near-future dystopian novel about growing up in the years leading up to the end of the world. It’s about pretending to be the perfect family. It’s about whether you want to survive. Treat your eye portals. Pick up your copy here.

  2 comments for “Where is all the writerly wisdom?

  1. April 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I second your love of Wendig. His ability to churn out books is amazing and the advice he throws out into the world is pure gold.

    There are a couple of books that I keep going back to for writing advice. They’re the kind of book I have to keep in hardcopy because an electronic version just doesn’t have the same feel.

    Telling Lies for Fun & Profit by Lawrence Block (http://amzn.to/QI8laR) – He may be famous for his detective novels, but my first introduction to the man was this book. Four years worth of his column for Writer’s Digest condensed into a handy little tome. There’s something for everyone in here.

    The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (http://amzn.to/1tGI8sK) – This book is inspirational to me because there’s no bullshit. This was the first time I ever heard anyone give a name to the destructive force within ourselves that keeps us from writing, “Resistance”. He doesn’t pull any punches about how hard he hit bottom or the long struggle back up. He points to “Resistance” in places you never thought it would appear and yet are so obvious once you know. He also talks about how a simple shift in mindset, “turning pro”, can open up your writing career in amazing ways.

    Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (http://amzn.to/1k9fNGt) – I learned more about narrative structure from this book on screenwriting than I have from anywhere else. Hell, I finally understood the 3 Act Structure because of this book. It may be geared toward movie writing, but Save the Cat is jam packed with story gems. If you’re a visual person like me, it may even help you tackle narrative problems in an entirely new way.

    • April 24, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      He is brilliance in a beard!

      I definitely prefer books like this in paper form, easier to mark and scribble on and keep pages open in front of me until the advice finally sinks in.

      Thanks for the suggestions – I’ve heard a few people mention Save the Cat but I kept forgetting the title, I also like the idea of merging visual skills/screenwriting skills into prose writing so sounds very useful. I’ll check them out, cheers :)

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