So I’ve been working on Salvation, my little miniseries. The way it worked out, I started writing and about 600 words in I thought I’d use the firs 400 or so for a little “pilot” post. I posted it and got a little praise from fellow writers, but then I got hung up. I was trying to trudge along with what I’d already written, but I kept getting hung up on stale dialog and a slow pace. I walked away for a bit, which I should never have done, and wracked my brain over what I should do next. I realized tonight as I was putting my son asleep that there was only one thing to do: scrap what I had and start over. So that’s what I’m going to do, and hopefully episode one will be published for your reading pleasure by the end of the weekend.
A friend of mine is also a writer, albeit a new one. She texts me for advice and sends me Emails with pieces of her work to critique. I find myself realizing how far I’ve come since August of last year when I started this blog with a couple trite posts about how to write. Now that I’ve gotten a little more experience under my belt, I’m going to give the writing advice thing another go-round. But, I’ll tell you, as any person who gives writing advice should, that what I’m about to say really only amounts to a bullshitter bullshitting other bullshitters. Just because something works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you, but all the same, let’s begin.
Infodump and expect your reader to flush what you wrote. To put it another way, don’t tell me, show me. If you weigh your prose down with overwrought descriptions about your character’s hair color, what brand name she’s wearing, or how he parts his hair just-so, I’m going to get bored and skim over what you’ve spent so much time writing, or worse, dismiss what you’ve written altogether. Information is best given in little snippets to keep the reader interested. Limit your descriptions to two or three important pieces of information and move on. Leave some of the work to your reader’s imagination. That is, after all, why most people pick up books instead of turning on the boob tube.
Lean how to write a sentence, shithead. A sentence is, at its most basic level, a noun and a verb. A subject and an action. Deify plums. That’s a sentence. I could go further and talk about subjects and predicates and all that other high school English gobbledeegook, but to be completely honest I was the kind of paradox that passed English with flying colors, all except for the grammar part. That’s not to say that grammar isn’t important, not at all. Grammar and punctuation are the aesthetics of any piece of written work. if yu reed a sentance tht looks reel sloppy youre gunna feel lyk an idiot just reeding it? But when your reader’s eyes skim over something coherent and structured, they’ll continue reading because reading isn’t work. The sentences you write are your direct link to your reader. If I write a sentence like “Elaine splashed a bit of lilac perfume on her neck, and glossed her lips cherry red,” you, the reader, can imagine the smell of lilac, a burst of vapor from a perfume bottle, the sheen of red lipstick. From my finger tips, to little black letters on the computer screen, through your eyes and into your brain – through the magic of the written word we writers have the ability to create. Every writer should have enough respect for the art form to at least master the basics.
Cut unnecessary words. Adverbs are almost always unnecessary. Following a line of dialog with anything but “he/she said” is almost always unnecessary. Superfluous descriptors are almost always unnecessary.
Stop trying to edit as you write. You’ll kill your flow. First drafts are always nasty and full of plot holes, rough spots, and entire sections that need to be gutted and rewritten. Worry about that later. Much later. For now, focus on the hardest part of writing: the motherfucking writing. Trying to rectify every mistake as soon as you make it will take all the piss out of your story. It’ll lose its life, its momentum, and become more a mother in law than a lover, and your story should always feel like a lover.
Aaaannndddd, that’s all I’ve got because I’m way too distracted by writing my miniseries to give this any more attention..