Writerly Advice

Recently someone asked me why I don’t share some of my tips on writing, and I asked him if he had the internet. There’s always some writer over on that site penning a series on how to write novel. And for only 2 bucks, you can get all the wisdom he’s acquired including —

In a used car salesman voice: Use Strong Verbs, Make Your Antagonist a Well-Rounded Character, and my personal favorite, Show Don’t Tell.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but it’s the same shit that other writer said on that other site but with a little more wit.

Essentially there is nothing new said about writing, how to write, or how to write better; it is all just rehashed, repackaged, and recycled material. I don’t begrudge this repackaging at all. I love Dr. Who and Sherlock Holmes a lot more now than I did when I was first introduced to them, and what student hasn’t peeked at some study guide to get a gist of something screwed up like Gravity’s Rainbow?

Unfortunately, he was not quite satisfied with my answer concerning the internet (I mean who ever is?). He implored, “But you’re a writer.”

“No,” I tell him, “you have it all wrong. I’m a reader who writes.”

There. That’s it. That’s my advice. You want to write, read. And read multiple genres, nonfiction, poetry, and Drews has some fantastic screenplays you can download (I recommend The Three Kings right off the bat).

I’ve been reading R. Thomas Brown’s Hill Country lately. The book came highly recommended. It has one of the best openings I have read in a long, long time. The characters are stark, sharp things and the way he drew the place is remarkable. It’s as if he took Richard Hugo’s The Triggering Town, chewed it up, let it dissolve into his bloodstream, then slashed his wrists all over the page.

Nothing Matters by Steve Finbow is next up.   I mean, how can I pass up a noir poem?

And Eric Coyote shared this promo with me which certainly piqued my interest, but everything must be read before John Horner Jacob’s new book, This Dark Earth, comes out this summer.

Now back to work you filthy cretins.

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2 comments on “Writerly Advice

  1. Very well put, Chad… writers need to write more stories and less about writing. Some have done it well (King, Lawrence BLock, etc) but when I read “writing advice” by unpublished authors, it amuses me to no end.

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