Monday, June 18, 2018

How to Level Up as a Writer

First, listen, as always, to Jeffe, who is wise. her article is spot on.

Second, this is really easy for me, guys. Because I say it all the time. Sit your bitt in the chair and write.

That's it. Write. Write every day. Read every day. read a lot and read from many, many genres. Heck throw some nonfiction in there while you're at it.

Let's look at this as a craft, shall we?

We'll go with wood carving. Look at first a wood carver might successfully make a bass relief that does't suck. Maybe the carver started out whittling sticks and a few of them had cool designs. But after a few months or years of doing the job every day, the carver takes it to the next level and starts actually doing sculptures carved from wood. Those first dozen suck. The technique isn't there and the carver is glad to have stashed away some supplies and cash from the last few successful years.

Still, live and learn. Practice and research and carve, carve, carve. Try number seven doesn't suck as badly and it sells. Try number eight had some new innovations, new design goals. The level and depth of the work gets better and better with each attempt.

It's the same with writing. I don't even know that you have to strive for it, you just evolve. My first novel was 170,000 words in length. It was a very convoluted tale and try as I might I couldn't cut it down in length. I managed to sell it anyway, and I'm very proud of UNDER THE OVERTREE.  Mind you, I want to cringe every time I look at it. Not because the story is bad. it isn't. There are some truly fine sentences in that book and i enjoy the overall efforts. I cringe because if I were to write it today my methods would be very different and it would probably be thirty thousand words shorter.

I'm simply not the same writer I was back then. For one thing I'm not s fast. For another, my manuscripts are much tighter and require less editing. I evolved. I didn't plan it, it just happened. because I write every day and I read every day. When I read I am studying the hell out of what I read, whether I mean to or not. Thomas Monteleone, a very fine writer in his own right, put it to me best, I think. He said "When you're just a reader, you can enjoy a book for the story it tells. but when you're a writer, you do more than that You find a sentence tat resonates, or a turn of phrase that catches your attention and you suddenly become a mechanic. You have to pop the hood on that baby and see what make's it purr."  I think he was spot on with that he often is.

So that's it for me. Write. Read. Repeat. Every single day. That's what this is about. If you cant do it every day, okay, but aim for that goal anyway.

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