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11-21 of 21 Harsh But True Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors
Hello and welcome to the final part of 21 Harsh But True Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors. In this final part, I'm going to quote some expert authors and then paraphrase them again with my own opinion on their writing tips.
11. Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die. – Anne Enright
I think Anne has a good point here when it comes to being an author and finding the inspiration and motivation to finish a book you're writing. Because in any authors life, there may come a time when you find it hard to find the inspiration and motivation to finish the book you're writing. That could be because there's something you don't like about it. Well, change it then. Simple as that. And nobody even needs to die!
12. If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do. – William Zinsser
Well Bill, I do digress! I personally find writing one of the easiest things to do. I get that in your day you never had word processors and computer keyboards like we do today. But I'm sure you mean even with our without them. And sometimes I sure do find it hard to get going. But once I'm on a roll I'm virtually unstoppable. Sorry Bill, I don't really agree and think writing is super easy to do but that's just me and each to their own right?
13. Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college. – Kurt Vonnegut
Well call me a stickler for correct use of semicolons! I sometimes like to use them, but only when they should be used. Like when you want to show the sentence has almost ended but there's still another part to go with it. In which case; the semicolon should be used. I do get Kurt's point though. Although I wouldn't exactly say they are transvestite hermaphrodites as funny as that is!
14. Prose is architecture, not interior decoration. – Ernest Hemingway
I know right!!? Some people do talk tediously don't they just? Words should be written in their ordinary form without any kind metrical structure to them. You should just use the words that come to you naturally instead of trying to make it sound like you have a masters degree in talking and writing.
15. Write drunk, edit sober. – Ernest Hemingway
Oh Ernest, you are so a man after my own heart! Now I know why you were so creative! You had a few pints before you put pen to paper didn't you? Well hey, if it worked for you then who am I or who is anyone to tell you anything different? Now I don't advocate getting drunk just to write, but it would definitely be better to do your proof reading whilst sober!
16. Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft. Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly. – Joshua Wolf Shenk
Now that I do get, understand and appreciate! And I get what Josh is saying here as well. It just goes to show how you can't let your fears hold you back when it comes to writing a master piece! Sure, criticism will come, sure, the shape of it might not look that great. But you have to remember that these are drafts and all drafts can be buffed up, polished and shined into a nice shape.
17. Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. – Mark Twain
Old Mark Twain was a good guy. Maybe too good for his own boots! Either that or I've become desensitised to such words as "damn" today. So much so that it seems almost normal to say such a word and not offensive at all. We have to remember that Mark Twain was a writer from a period where even the smallest of swear words was seen as evil and punishable by an act of hanging.
18. Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you. Neil Gaiman
Cheers Neil! That's a great way to think about it when it comes to writing a story. Sure, there are always going to be better, smarter writers than you. But only you can tell the story in your own words the way you intended it to be told. And regardless to their own talents, skills and abilities, nobody else can write that story for you the way you wanted it to be written!
19. Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. – Oscar Wilde
True that! Even some of the most unimaginative people have gone on to become great writers simply by just powering through it and being consistent. As in, consistently knocking them out of the ball park and not letting their unimaginative nature get the better of them. And it just goes to show, you don't need as much imagination as you do persistence in consistency.
20. You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. Ray Bradbury
I'm not drunk on writing Ray, I get your point mate but I don't let reality destroy me either what kind of weak minded person was you Ray seriously? Sorry if that offends you mate and that might have applied for you in your generation but these days we see reality as destroying you as a mental illness.
21. Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously. – Lev Grossman
Yes Lev! Hey, I always take anyone's advice with a pinch of salt. I take it on board, but we have to remember that it's just one persons opinion at the end of the day and not necessarily the collective opinion of a group or body of people. Just take it on the chin and roll on and keep on pushing regardless. Opinions and tips will come and go. But you are the one that remains, pen in hand..
And that's a total of 21 very harsh but very true, eye opening tips from great authors in time! And my paraphrases to them. I hope you'll learn something from these. Let me tell you, I'm not a young writer but even I've learned something from them.
What about you? What have you learned from these great authors tips?
Do you think I'm right in what I've said about them?
What other great writing tips for authors do you know of?