Tuesday, April 2, 2013

197 ~on writing


“The commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness.”
—Sun Tzu.

In The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises , James Scott, offers helpful observations based on more than twenty years in the fiction writing game.

The writer must understand the essentials of success for a long-term writing career, and count the cost accordingly.

“1. Desire.
3.Commitment to craft.
6.Willigness to learn.
7.Business-like attitude.
8.Rhino skin.
9.Long-term view.

A wise and well-respected writer once said, “Nobody knows anything.” Listen to him.

“What makes a successful book or career is something of a mystery. Every now and then some new writer hits it big, and everybody tries to figure out why. But that’s only after the fact. Trying to make it happen again almost never work.”

Stay hungry so your determination will not flag.

Preston Sturges said ‘When the last dime is gone, I’ll sit on the curb with a pencil and a ten-cent notebook, and start the whole thing all over again.”

Put heart into everything you write.

“Heart=Passion + purpose.”

“Passion means heat. Strength of feeling. And purpose means you know what you want the reader to feel when she gets to the end of your story.”

Progressive revelation keeps readers turning pages.

“Reveal your plot incrementally. That means leaving mystery inherent and unfolding things progressively. That keeps readers reading.”

The wise writer draws on select weapons to keep his story moving forward.

“So you’re writing along and you get stuck. What do you do? One of these.

1.     Turn to a random page in a dictionary and select a word. Make a list of twenty things that occur to you from that word.

2.    Stop where you are, and write another scene.

3.    When you get to the end of a scene and don’t know where to go next, make two lists: First, all the things you can think of that readers would expect to happen. Second, all the things that could happen that are not what the readers would expect.

4.    Stop and do some research.

5.    Switch the point of view.

6.    Go backward to the point in the story where things got slow and create a new path.

7.     Start a new voice journal for the point-of-view character and ask her some questions about what’s going on.

8.    Bring a new character to the scene.

9.    Open a novel at a random and flip pages until you find dialogue. Take the first line of dialogue you see and put it into the mouth of your character, and start writing a scene from there.

10. If  things get really bad, eat a Ding Dong and lie down for half and hour."


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