Saturday, February 13, 2010
My week as a writer
Today has been a good week.
1) I finished editing the changes on the first section of my new novel required by my (far more experienced and talanted) co-author.
2) I received word that I have a new scientific paper out in Molecular Ecology.
3) Five days ago I got a commission for a short story for an Urban Fantasy short story - provided I finished it in a fortnight. the editor gave me a meme to get me started.
Of course, I said yes, deciding to panic later. I went to bed that night with various ideas running around in my head. In the morning, I had a story. Today I finished the first draft.
This has focussed my mind on how I did it.
1. Write about what you know. Either do extensive research or use material from your own life. The latter is infinitely preferable.
2. Ruthlessly trim down extraneous detail and side issues to focus on the story line.
3. Assume no special knowledge among the readers.
4. Use strong characters as the protagonists. Try to make them real.
5. See the story as a series of scenes, each of which either advances the plot or tells the reader something interesting about the protagonists.
6. Don't infodump - dump the information from the story. It probably isn't necessary.
7. Write. Write. Write.
I got up each day and wrote at least a thousand lines before lunch. Get into the writing habit.
8. Edit, show it to another writer and edit some more. When you have finished that do some more editing.
9. Removing words usually improves a story much more than adding words.
10. Enjoy it. You are not doing this to get rich so why bother if you are not having fun.
PS You can follow me on Twitter. I twit under johnlambshead.