Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read! You’ll absorb it.
In an era of cell phones, tablets, minicomputers and notebooks, writing longhand doesn’t always come naturally or easily, but sometimes it works better.
Whether we write fact or fiction or both, pain can inform and enhance our work even as we put pen to paper, fingers or stylus to keypad.
It has been said that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, and that’s no less true in writing. And imitation is a great way to learn to write better.
One of the most intriguing ways to show what your characters are made of is to give them a dilemma that forces them to reveal who they are to the reader, to themselves and to you.
When is it best for writers to write without knowing their destination, and how can they go about successfully writing to explore, discover and learn?
Take, for example, The Great Gatsby. What helped F. Scott Fitzgerald create this classic was the rewrite. He already knew the time because it was his time and high society because it was his society. But before Gatsby became a novel, Fitzgerald wrote the story many times in many ways, including as shorter pieces. The end result? Nary a cliché and no real ambiguity, only Fitzgerald's practiced hand at not revealing everything until the end.
Even with GPS, if you’ve in unfamiliar territory, there’s no way to fully know your destination until you get there.
I have to work diligently. I started writing poetry in 1968, I’m now 70 years of age.
I’ve been writing most of my life, starting around age eight with poems and journal entries. Writing then was natural; I wrote because I had something to say about the world, and if there was no one to talk to, well, I could talk on paper. It wasn’t until after I’d been working a few years as a press correspondent and an editor that I discovered my voice. It happened when I wrote on a topic I felt passionate about, at a time when I was angry.