This is a double feature entry for my event and Jennifer Nichole Wells’ (this week’s color is bittersweet).
Have you ever done or said anything that caused problems for you? Then you shot yourself in the foot, my friend! As a survivor of such troubles, what advice would you give other writers and bloggers? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences through words, book title poetry, pictures, and music.
I’d like to thank Jennifer for the photo challenge and the Librarian who doesn’t say Shhh! for the idea of book spine poetry. Click on the link and the badge above to check out their blogs. If you want to participate in this event, please do the following (also, click on the “Izzy May I” badge located above for more info):
- Include “The Write Shot” in the title of your new post (this is optional)
- Share advice with your fellow bloggers and writers
- Link back to this post
- Include the tags “izzymayichallenge” and “izzygrabslife”
Here’s my advice:
1. Don’t be so quick to tell others that you want to be a writer.
Did you finish that book yet? Why is it taking so long? You mean to tell me you still don’t have an agent? Why write? A writing career doesn’t give you enough security. What are the chances you’ll be a bestseller?
Does any of this sound familiar? You might’ve heard it from your loved ones or bold acquaintances. Now, there are those who will support you, but it’s usually better to keep your aspirations and resolutions to yourself (keep in mind that I don’t mean keep things to yourself or a small group forever). The point is, you shouldn’t feel the need to prove anyone wrong or feel discouraged.
2. Don’t mistake who you are. Sorry, but not everyone’s going to like your story or you for that matter. Get over it. You will be rejected. You will receive negative reviews. You will keep swimming, or in this case, writing and moving forward. Take what helps, kindly discard the rest, and keep putting yourself out there.
All you get is me / The amber spyglass / The house on hound hill / The broken bridge / We were here / just in case / others see us / finding our way
3. Don’t tell, show readers. Don’t show, tell readers. Learn the the trick of the trade in your own way. Check out this article by literary blogger Jerz.
4. Don’t rely on just your sight. That sentence might look better than a fresh can of Arizona green tea, but it needs to sound right out loud, too. Read your story aloud as you revise. Get a computerized person to read it to you. And don’t forget about beta readers.
- Google “text to speech” for more
Committed / nonsense / The word evidence / an absence so great / Dreamquake / Daughter of the flames / Tigers in red weather / Trouble / the family tree / Becoming me / the murder artist
5. Don’t rely on what you think you know. Your story needs to be plausible. Read more of what’s out there. Get your facts straight. Know the rules before you twist or break them in the “right” way. Any fictional world, plot, or character has to make sense.
6. Don’t be ostentatious. Remember, you’re sharing a story and inviting others into that world. You’re no longer writing for your eyes only; your target audience needs to understand your work. Don’t force your characters to use certain vocabulary terms just to spice things up. Again, be authentic, not pretentious or excessive.
Bittersweet / off season / Eyes wide open / Falling into place / The sea of tranquility / The middle of everywhere / Heavenly date and other flirtations / As much time as it takes
7. Don’t force out a scene or a story. As Professor Marissa wrote, “Learn the difference between mindless distraction and mindful wandering.” There’s a reason you’re blocked and things aren’t flowing. Practice some self-compassion and self-regard. Take a short break (hours to a couple of days). Marinate and distill your ideas. Depending on how you spend that time, the results will be steaming with superb flavors.
8. Don’t get trapped by your little darlings. Kill ’em. Kill ’em all! First they’re sweet, then they’re sour. Yeah, you know that character, description, sentence, paragraph, or chapter you love so much and are so proud of . . . does it honestly add anything substantial to your overall plot? Does it add to the rollercoaster of momentum that only goes up, my friend? If you want to be an effective writer, you need to be frank with yourself and kill that sucker. Kill it before it takes you down. As Kristin Lamb (author, C.E.O. of WANA International, and founder of WANATribe) says:
“Be truthful. Are your “flowers” part of a garden or covering a grave? We put our craftiest work into buttressing our errors, so I would highly recommend taking a critical look at the favorite parts of your manuscript and then get real honest about why they’re there. And then kill them dead and bury your pets for real.”
Somewhere between life / lips touch three times / The road to Paris / Home of the braves / Whistle down a dark lane / What they found / in a heartbeat / Gentle hands / Words in the dust / The ruby in the smoke / The truth about forever
9. Don’t close yourself off or shut yourself down. Live YOUR life. Experience new and old things. Get to know yourself, others (characters included), different cultures, different activities, whatever. This will help to write what you “know,” breathe more life into your manuscripts, and connect with other human beings.
10. Don’t be hard of hearing. Pay attention to what others are saying or signing. Not only will you see improvements in the way you love others and yourself, but you’ll notice improvements in your characters’ dialogue (more believable) and interactions. Don’t get me wrong. Listening isn’t for the fainthearted. Not only do you need to be quiet, but you have to stop cutting others’ off and/or formulating what you’re going to say while that other person’s talking. Truly listen.
11. Don’t quit.
Last Week’s Snack Attack Contributions: