Writing about Writing

I find that writing is like performing on paper. It’s not a spontaneous exercise, rather, it’s a planned excursion into imagination. When it’s writing that mean’s a great deal to you it’s very difficult. There is always frustration because it’s never quite what you want it to be.

Writing for fun, on the other hand, can be easy and satisfying. If one isn’t impassioned about a subject, then how to get the sweet pleasure of writing? Just start. I find that I must first put something on the page, either a title or the date. What next? Choose a place: (kitchen, Paris, restaurant, tunnel) any place at all.

Choose a time: (sunrise, 1857, wartime) any time. Choose an action: (guitar strummed, speeding car, cooking) any action. With any three, you should be able to conjure scenes of interest and dialogue to reveal facts.

For instance, if I take Paris, sunrise, and speeding car, what can I do?


   The sky was promising that sunrise was on its way at last. Lise Grondin sped through the streets as fast as her little R5 would take her. At this hour, the usual Paris traffic glut was just getting started, and she hoped to clear the city limits in time to meet Jeff Hebert for lunch in Honfleur.


Obviously, one could continue in any way they wish. The speeding car could crash, or be stopped by police, making her late. Who is she meeting and why she is rushing – that’s where the author comes in. It’s up to the creator to create. Writing is not just well assembled words – writing is story telling.

Some people have difficulty developing good names for characters. My tip: watch the credits on movies. You’ll see hundreds of names from behind the cameras. Usually, the names have great variety: male, female, every ethnicity, all you need. The credits from one major movie could provide names for 11 books. Just switch around some of the given names to other surnames, and you’re in business.

Good writing is a gift, and if you ain’t got it, you might have to stick with catalogue captions and business reports. However, if you have a good story inside you, write it. Pay attention to the subtleties of language and grammar in dialogue. A Kentucky farmer and a Chicago merchant will speak very differently from each other.

Lemme know how it works out for you.


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