Writer Wisdom Sunday


Every Sunday until November and unless I have a guest, I will share words of wisdom from writers on writing. Enjoy!

People ask me if I ever thought of writing a children’s book.

I say, “If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children’s book”, but otherwise the idea of being conscious of who you’re directing the story to is anathema to me, because, in my view, fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable.

I would never write about someone that forced me to write at a lower register than what I can write.

– Martin Amis

 

If you want to have a successful career as a fiction writer, you need to understand that you are in the business of selling emotion. Readers want to be thrilled, moved, made to cry, laugh, rejoice and despair.

– Michael Allen

 

I think the book in ebook popularity will allow us once again to discover really great new authors and it will be driven by readers. Something similar happened in music a few years ago, and the current position of publishing reminds me of punk rock’s innovation and energy. You might not have liked punk, but ignore it at your peril!

– David Hurst

 

Structure is not a starting point for creative development. Start with a creative outpouring of free expression. The value of understanding structure comes in retrospective analysys and fixing story problems after the initial creative phase.

– David Baboulene

 

First and foremost – don’t let anyone tell you they have a “method” for making a story into a success. Nobody does, and if anyone says they do, they are lying. There is no magic formula, and mercifully, there never will be.

– Bob Gale

Writer Wisdom Sunday


Every Sunday until November and unless I have a guest, I will share words of wisdom from writers on writing. Enjoy!

The path to success is a path, not a destination. Making yourself happy, sharing your art, or whatever your goals are, requires constant adjustment along this changing path. We will all be making decisions in our writing careers. I challenge you not to see those decisions as right or wrong, but as just another span in an ever-flowing path that is your writing career. It will ebb and flow but it will never freeze unless you let it. 

~Davin Malasarn

 

I guess I can never stress enough the importance of knowing what is right for you and closing your eyes to dreams that aren’t really yours. It’s so easy to mistake another dream for your own. It’s so easy to think we’re heading somewhere special, when in reality we are almost always already where we need to be and we just need to enjoy it before it flies by and is gone forever.

– Michelle Davidson Argyle

 

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, though I didn’t really know what a writer was. I don’t remember a time without that urge.

– Maggie O’Farrell

 

Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to pare you can lose an idea for ever.

– Will Self

 

Storytelling will never die: it’s too important to the human condition.

Amanda Foreman, biographer

Writer Wisdom Sunday


Every Sunday until November and unless I have a guest, I will share words of wisdom from writers on writing. Enjoy!

When I was first starting out, I used to produce stories all the time. They would just appear, one right after the other. Now that I’ve gone to school and learned the craft, these things take much more time because every decision is a much more conscious decision

– Robin Black

 

Newsflash: no writer is superior to any other writer. Some may have more talent. Some have had more luck. But if you toil away at your computer, day after day, month after month, and finally reach that magic “the end”, you’re a writer

– Joe Konrath

 

Robert Heilein’s business rules:

1) you must write

2) you must finish what you write

3)you must not rewrite unless to editorial demand

4) you must mail your work to someone who can buy it

5) you must keep the work in the mail until someone buys it

 

If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer.

– Ray Bradbury

 

That’s another reason why I have a certain scepticism about things like writing classes, MAs in Creative writing and writing groups; there’s a lot of effort focussed on homonegising the process, of reducing it to a formula that can be reproduced. Success in writing(by which I mean both the process of writing and of publishing success etc) is akin to the various versions of Chaos Theory; there are too many variables to be able to learn it like a paint by numbers flow chart kind of thing. Best to let the wind take you where it will; you may not learn how to fly but you will learn how to land!   

– Vivienne Tuffnell (author/blogger)

Writer Wisdom Sunday


Every Sunday until November and unless I have a guest, I will share words of wisdom from writers on writing. Enjoy!

Some books are like fireworks. They blaze quickly, splendidly, and everyone cries “oooh!” and “aaaah!” But then they vanish, forgotten — at least until the next flurry of fireworks from the next bestseller.

Other books are like a warm fire. They aren’t dramatic; they don’t make one jump and shout. But they are the sort of books one can come back to again and again, and enjoy 10, 20, 30, or 50 years after you first read them. They are the sort of books that a reader can enjoy for the FIRST time, decades after they were first written.

(…)

Books that endure are, I suspect, most often books of the heart. They are the books that the author WANTED to write — without caring whether they became bestsellers or not.

– Moira Allen

 

“If you’re writing a spec and you’re not having fun, something’s wrong. I used to have lots of fun. Now, I’m always thinking, will it sell, will it sell?” — Shane Black

I found this quote online and it got me thinking. There was no date attributed, but I can’t imagine it’s recent. Does Shane Black still play the spec game? Does he still really give a crudbucket if his spec sells? Well, maybe he does.

After all, when you’ve racked up historic sales like he has, there’s probably a certain amount of pressure to keep it going. Me? Eh. I couldn’t give a rodent’s derriere.

What I mean is, I’m a bit more realistic nowadays. When you’re in your 40s, and you’ve been at this a while, you start to gain what some people might call “a cynical freaking attitude,” but I call it “perspective.”

Jim Cirile of Coverage Ink

 

If you want an agent to read the middle chapters of the book because “that’s where things get exciting,” you should probably consider editing the entire book to make it all exciting.

– Agent Jessica Faust of BookEnds

 

Every writer is different. Every writer’s method is different.

There is no correct, mandated way to write a book. Juts your way.

The myth of writing slow to write better actually hurts writers.

– Dean Wesley Smith

 

Every author knows the secret to writing books. It’s not closely guarded, probably because it is so dang hard to do sometimes—okay, often. Ready? Here it is: Sit down and work until you have some word count, aka Butt in the Chair. The craft and story will come over time, but not if you don’t do the first step. Sit and stay and write.

Erin Kellison

Writer Wisdom Sunday


Every Sunday until November and unless I have a guest, I will share words of wisdom from writers on writing. Enjoy!

You can’t wait for someon to come in and save you. Get out there with whatever means are at your disposal.

– Allegra Huston (daughter of John and sister of Anjelica) after crowd-funding her short “Good Luck, Mr Gorski”

The path to success is a path, not a destination. Making yourself happy, sharing your art, or whatever your goals are, requires constant adjustment along this changing path. We will all be making decisions in our writing careers. I challenge you not to see those decisions as right or wrong, but as just another span in an ever-flowing path that is your writing career. It will ebb and flow but it will never freeze unless you let it.

– Posted by Domey Malasar, author/blogger

Beautiful stories are emerging. A few days ago I read about a woman publishing her first e-book on her 72nd birthday. The vision-impaired have returned to reading because they can now adjust the font size. Families are sharing Kindles and a love of stories together. It’s an evolution, a revolution, and the greatest moment in human communication since Gutenberg. We are connected here in this common dream. There’s no expiration date on magic.

–Scott Nicholson

Never use someone else’s process word for word. It’s your process; it’s what’s in you! “Follow this guy’s process and use this colored paper” – never do that! Never take advice that sounds like instructions. If youw ant to do that, buy a coloring book. Be your own creative.

– Max Landis (filmmaker son of John Landis)

No matter what you do as an indie publisher, you must be writing first. You must be creating product.

In the first golden age of fiction, the pulp writers got very, very rich at 1 cent per word in the middle of the Depression.

We are in a new golden age of publishing.

We can write a few books, treat them like events and spoiling fruit, or we can write all the time, have fun, write what we want, put them up, and then just keep writing.

We now have the choice to go either to traditional publishing or do it ourself with indie publishing.

But just as it has been for hundreds of years, the writers who will make it on either side, traditional or indie, are the writers who just keep writing.

And that really is the secret.

– Dean Wesley Smith

Writer Wisdom Sunday


Every Sunday until November and unless I have a guest, I will share words of wisdom from writers on writing. Enjoy!

There are so many writers now defending the Big 6 hat I liken their behavior to Stockholm Syndrome. As artists, we’ve become so used to the idea of breaking into the publishing industry by appeasing the gatekeepers that we’ve begun to revere them. We defend their decisions – even the wrong ones- because we’ve deemed them essential to the process. They’re the powerful pourveyors of wisdom who nod at worthy intellectual properties and welcome their creators into the fold.

– Joe Konrath

As an indie publisher, you can use your own publication deadlines to help drive yourself to finishing and releasing books.

Many beginning writers can’t seem to finish a project, or when they finish it they spend years rewriting the poor thing to death and having workshops turn it into a monster with an arm sewn onto the forehead.

Having a publication deadline will do wonders for getting you to write, finish what you write, not rewrite, and get it out to readers. (Wait, those sound like Heinlein’s Rules, don’t they? (grin))

Also knowing a book has a hope of getting read by readers and making you some money does wonders for pushing a writer to write and finish.

– Dean Wesley Smith

I still have great respect for those writers, like Raymond Carver, who pack as much tension into a suburban living room as other writers do with a planet overrun by zombies.

I can’t do that. More to the point, I don’t want to.

Never be ashamed of your enthusiasms. If you love something, write it even if nobody else does. And if nobody else does, write it so well that they have no choice but to love it too.

Christopher Farnsworth

Don’t make it your job, make it your hobby. If you don’t enjoy writing, you shouldn’t be doing it. If you do enjoy it, do it more. Don’t treat it like it’s a job. Rewriting someone else’s work, that’s a job! Your original stuff should be fun.

– Max Landis (filmmaker son of John Landis)

Barb sez: and that’s why I gave up screenwriting! I didn’t want to end up rewriting somebody else’s stories! 😉

Think of the best stories you’ve ever read. How many of them are standard, run-of-the-mill stuff? I would be willing to bet the stories that stick in your mind have a fresh, a different perspective. And that can only happen when the author is true to himself or herself.

So my advice is to write first, then find a market for what you write. Remain true to your inner voice, and you will be published, and you will write lasting work.

– David Kubicek

Writer Wisdom Sunday


Every Sunday until November and unless I have a guest, I will share words of wisdom from writers on writing. Enjoy!

 

If you plan to write for profit, please understand that it is a long, congested road. I self-publish my books only in electronic format. This market has few barriers to entry, which both helps and hurts. I have invested in a professionally designed website and book covers. The burden of publicizing the book falls solely on my wife and me. The internet is crowded, and that crowd generates a lot of noise, which hides the book of an unknown author. Breaking through the background noise is difficult and at times feels like an impossibility no matter how good your book may be. That’s what I think new writers should know.

– Joseph M.Rinaldo, indie author

 

Most writers are so stupid about the business they think they sell stories (We don’t, we license copyright).

– Dean Wesley Smith

 

But aside from all that buzz about influencers and reputational analysis, let’s not gorget that whole social is social thing. And the thing about being social is that it’s fun!

Sure, you may be an introvert like, me, but you can pick and choose your experiences. You can make reach out to people, and soon enough those virtual friends may become your real friends. This is increasingly how we connect with like-minded people, and the best part is that it works.

It’s really fun to do, and you can make the experience whatever you want. If you like Twitter, do that. If you like blogging, do that. If you’re a Facebook maven, go for it. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it and you can invent your own way if it didn’t exist.

– Nathan Bransford

 

For hundreds of years, writers couldn’t reach readers without publishers. We needed them. Now, suddenly, we don’t. But publishers don’t seem to be taking this Very Important Fact into account.

– Joe Konrath

 

Art, whether it is visual or literary or musical or whatever, is a living thing that thrives on experimentation and exploration. The digital age is offering all of us the most mind-blowing scope for experiment and exploring. You could do anything. ANYTHING. The possibilities are beyond anything we have so far encountered.

All you need is imagination and a bit of daring to take that step forward and just try.

– Vivienne Tuffnell – author and blogger

Writer Wisdom Sunday


Every Sunday until December and unless I have a guest, I will share words of wisdom from writers on writing. Enjoy!

My mentor, Ernst&Young Entrepreneur of the YearAward-winner Gerald Chamales, taught me that it takes audacity and determination to achieve one’s goals. The four basic principles of success are 1) A burning desire. 2) a definite plan culled from the masters. 3) An elimination of negativity. 4) Align yourself with like-minded individuals who share your dream.

– W.Peter Iliff, screenwriter

A real writer is a writer who is actually writing and anything that keeps you from that is just so much fluff.

– Joleen Naylor, author and blogger

To be a happy, successful author, you have to be passionate. To be a selling successful author, you have to be organized.

– Helen Ginger @ Blood-Red Pencil

If you’re focused on what someone else is doing or maitaining some imaginary status, you will lose your freaking mind. Trust me on this one. It seems totally obvious, but when you get out there it is SO hard not to get sucked into all the drama and ego and blah blah blah and comparing yourself with what everyone else is doing for good or ill.

– Zoe Winters, author

There is no one size fits all when it comes to writing a book, publishing it, or marketing it. What works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for another. This is why it’s crucial to pursue your passions in writing and publishing, and it’s important to focus on your strengths when you market your book.

– Ruth Ann Nordin, author and blogger

Writer Wisdom Sunday


Every Sunday until December and unless I have a guest, I will share words of wisdom from writers on writing. Enjoy!

That’s why I was able to do so much. Because, if it had been for money or any of those other things – fame, or accolades or whatever – I would never have been able to put the energy into it. It’s why I’ve been so prolific. Because if you’re having this much fun, you don’t want to stop.”

– Stephen J. Cannell, screenwriter

That’s what reminds me how much published writers have in common with aspiring writers. There’s no magic milestone at which professional writers become immune to any of the fears/doubts/concerns that emerging writers feel. Getting responses from fans or bloggers feels to me like the published writer’s equivalent of sitting through a workshop. I’ve certainly watched the look of horror on the faces of people being critiqued as the workshop careens off into speculation of where the writer’s story should go. Different venues; similar substance.

– David Anthony Durham

So, with all that said, I’m very excited. The ebook revolution means that I have the freedom to write whatever I want and get it out there as soon as it’s ready for mass consumption. No longer do I have to slave over a proposal and hope that an editor in New York understands the scope of the project, gets excited, can then pitch it to a room full of supposed experts, gets the green light to acquire it, makes a decend offer (lol), and then tells me the book will be out in about a year. Now, if I have an idea I think is cool, I can just write the thing and put it out. If it flops, no biggie. If it’s a hit – all the better. But the amount of time and number of hoops to jump through for me to reach my readers has now been drastically winnowed.

– John F.Merz, author

Like anything in this business, once new writers think that’s the only way things are done, they defend the practice like it’s a golden rule. And since traditional publishing was the only game in town for the last forty years, writers really had no choice but to write longer and longer, even though in many cases, it wasn’t a natural length for the story being told.

– Dean Wesley Smith

If you truly believe you’ve got something there, it’s important to not give up on it too quickly. Those first five drafts are probably not going to be good enough.

– Eric R.Cohen, screenwriter

Writer Wisdom Sunday


Every Sunday until December and unless I have a guest, I will share words of wisdom from writers on writing. Enjoy!

If you’re writing good books that fans enjoy, they’ll seek out more of your work. The more of your work you have available, the more chances you’ll have to discover new fans. It’s like constantly making your fishing net bigger. The bigger the net, the more fish you’ll snare.
For those writers who are wondering why they haven’t had decent sales, my answer is: write more.
In fact, that’s always been the answer for writers, no matter what their goals are.

– J.A. Konrath

Self-publishing is NOT is the easy way out. If you simply want to be published, and do not care if everyone reads or enjoys your work, then yes, self-publishing is easy. If you want to be sucessful and make a living as a writer, then it is hard work. In a lot of ways, I suspect it is harder than being traditionally published.
I’m just under the impression that a lot of people are now looking at this as a Get Rich Quick scheme, and this is no such thing. 

– Amanda Hocking, writer

A year ago I would have told you that you should stick with the traditional publishing route. Right now, as we move into a new age, I’m still going to tell you to stick with the traditional route. But here’s the thing: self-publishing electronically looks like a better alternative every day, even to someone like me who is a New York Times bestseller.

– David Farland

It takes six million grains of pollen to seed one peony, and salmon need a lifetime of swimming to find their way home, so we mustn’t be alarmed or discouraged when it takes us years to find love or years to understand our calling in life. Everything in nature is given some form of resilience by which it can rehearse finding its way, so that, when it does, it is practiced and ready to seize the moment.

– Mark Nepo

Real writers don’t care what anyone else thinks. They don’t write scripts to chase the hot trends. They write what they want to (or have to) write. And they don’t fit it into the popular story paradigms and formulas. They write it their way, in their voice. Which means that their scripts are unlike anyone else’s scripts. That’s the key.

– Corey Mandell, playwright and screenwriter

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