...Just for fun, I tried writing out a list of tips for new writers BEFORE I read all the excellent advice from Faralas and others here. Now that I have subsequently read through everybody else's much more detailed and specific advice my list looks rather slender. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif" alt="" />
SOME QUICK THOUGHTS ON STARTING OUT
JUST DO IT:
...In other words, stop thinking about it and just get on with the job of putting one word after another. Anybody who says things like "I'm playing around with a few ideas for a novel" usually means theyíre not doing anything! ...
Start by writing for yourself. If you canít please yourself youíre unlikely to ever please an audience. Donít begin by hobbling yourself with worry about formats, technical approaches or the like. ...
Both of the above are sound tips. Seems like I've read these before... Kris, are you one of my writing professors come back to haunt me? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />
TIGER WOODS DIDNíT LEARN GOLF BY READING BOOKS ON PHYSICS:
Initially, donít read too many books on how to write. Instead, re-read authors you admire and try to analyse how they do what they do and why it works. Donít try and copy their style, but do try and understand the technical side of their skill. Then read some B grade stuff and see if you can see why it doesnít work as effectively. Take a passage and re-write it Ė was it better, worse or merely rehashed? This practical approach should bring the craft to life for you in a way that detached analytical discussions often don't.
CRITICISE, NITPICK, EDIT AND REJECT:
There are many types of successful writing and some of them are diametrically opposed. Just try and see what makes each one work. Then apply the same critical eye to your own work. This is not always a simple or comfortable process, but you will need to develop the ability to be self-critical. Itís often easier to spot the weaknesses if you put work aside for a few days, or even weeks. Then see if the detail and atmosphere is still there, or whether much of it remained in your mind while you were writing it and never actually made it down onto the page.
Learn to be your own fiercest critic, but also try to develop the ability to accept feedback from others. Listen to anybody who tells you they donít understand what youíre trying to say, but also be prepared to ignore them and back your own judgement on occasions.
Be aware of what the market wants. Many writers begin by saying "This is want I want to say", but donít forget to sometimes also ask yourself the question "What do editors, publishers and readers want to hear?"
So what are you doing here still reading this tosh?? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />
Hmmmm, I've read these tips elsewhere. And you made this list? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif" alt="" /> You probably should be a professional. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" /> At any rate, these are all excellent additions to the list. It's easy to bog youself down in technicalities. The best approach when beginning a story is to simply write. Get the whole idea down on paper and then go back to rework your grammar, plot lines and twists, flesh-out the characters and the like. I save typos, spelling and grammatical errors for the last run-through in the editing process.
Thanks for the contribution, Kris!
Faralas <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mage.gif" alt="" />