Over the years I've read a lot of articles on the craft of writing fiction. I'm sure the writers among you have done the same. For those of you not involved in trying to pen the next bestseller, writing a saleable novel takes much more than the simple act of filling a blank page with words. And as an editor (Theresa Stevens) recently told me, (after I made a comment that I wish I'd paid more attention in high school English) your high school English teacher wouldn't have taught you what you need to know to write fiction.
Show don't tell. Paint a picture for your reader. Write what you know. Write effective dialogue. Write complex characters. Each scene must move the story forward. Rely on characters to move the story forward, not external plot twists. Conflict. Conflict. Conflict. I could go on and on.
Two years ago I read an article about show don't tell that truly impacted my writing. I wish I could find it to give the author the credit she deserves, but I've spent a good hour searching the leaning tower of papers piled on my desk and filing cabinets, to no avail.
It went something like this:
A new writer knows she's turned the corner when instead of writing: He was mad so he put on his sneakers and went for a jog.
She writes: The blister on his right heel stung with each slap of his running shoe against the pavement. The midday sun burned his glistening shoulders, sweat trickled down his forehead, blurring his vision. And still he ran, faster, harder, her harsh words echoing in his head, driving him forward. He couldn't stop, wouldn't stop until he conquered the urge to hurt her as much as she'd hurt him, until he found peace in the utter exhaustion that followed a ten mile run.
Okay. So the above is my interpretation. I hope it had the same impact on you as the original article had on me.
Is there something you've read or advice you've been given that truly impacted your life as a writer, or life in general?
- It is said that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things come to those who work. - Wilt Chamberlain
- A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. - Richard Bach
- You don't find time to write. You make time. It's my job. - Nora Roberts
- Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. - Buddha
- Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it. - Denzel Washington
- I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying. - Michael Jordan