This is one of the first books I read on novel-writing, and it saved me.
I’d always been a tyrant with myself as I wrote, slicing into each section, paragraph and sentence as I typed it on the page. I was driving in circles. Henriette Klauser’s book helped free me from that habit.
It’s true that unrefined creativity (more…)
January 25, 2014 | Categories: ►The Craft of Writing | Tags: authors, Books, creativity, critical, critiquing, editing, fantasy, fiction, henriette klauser, horror, novels, story, writer, writing | 4 Comments
The discussions I’m linking to are long (so long that I printed them off), but for all of us interested in the publishing industry (especially we who are torn about whether we should self-pub or go to the traditional houses), this is well worth our time.
I’ll break it its three main chronological parts:
1) Steve Zacharius (owner of (more…)
January 21, 2014 | Categories: ►The Craft of Writing | Tags: Amazon, authors, Books, ebooks, fantasy, fiction, Joe Konrath, novels, publishing, publishing houses, Self-publishing, steven zacharius, writers, writing | 2 Comments
As I’ve said before, being a novel-writer is a lot like pushing Sisyphus’ stone. We work for months or years on each draft, spend serious cash seeking help to perfect it, and then repeat that process until we believe that manuscript is perfect. Most do this for the hope of becoming paid, full-time authors.
But intermittently, we writers are smacked with the reality that we’ve been digging in the mines for years… for nothing. Playing the odds, the vast majority of us will either make a pittance (more…)
January 20, 2014 | Categories: ►The Craft of Writing | Tags: agents, authors, Books, fantasy, fiction, horror, marketing, novels, publishing, publishing houses, Self-publishing, stories, writer, writers, writing | 8 Comments
Want to get rich quick? Be famous with a life of ease? Then being an author is a terrible move for you.
Virtually all of the money which makes it into a writer’s pocket goes to a tiny fraction of the authors. For every Stephen King and John Grisham out there, there are thousands of (more…)
My experience with authors is that story-telling has been part of their lives for as far back as they can recall. It’s true of me as well. Authors I have spoken with express the same joy (and need) of writing. But why are most novels so humdrum? How is it that we (the authors) can be so exuberant about our stories and yet leave so many who read our stories so lukewarm? The primary problem, I think, is that we don’t take the writing craft seriously.
When I began my first novel I had a premise which I (and others) fell in love with. And so I sat down and started writing it. I was educated, had been writing for school for years, was well-read, etc.. But between the completion of Draft 1 and Draft 2, I did the best thing possible for my writing—I schooled myself.
December 5, 2013 | Categories: ►The Craft of Writing | Tags: Art of Fiction, Arts, author, authors, Book, craft of writing, fiction, learning, novels, Online Writing, story structure, Storytelling, writers, Writers Resources | 1 Comment
Over the past couple of years the talk of the “Self-publishing revolution” has spread into all corners of the Interwebs. Writers are celebrating that we are now no longer at the mercy of literary agents or publishing houses (who sometimes seem to make their publishing choices by shaking a Magic 8 Ball). We also know that nepotism, cronyism and all kinds of other unfair –isms are pushing people up into the “legitimately” published sphere. The traditional publishing houses used to be indispensable, unless you happened to have a spare $100K lying around to publish and market your book. Even in the Internet’s early days, the “Vanity publishers” realized that they could buy book-pressers and print for desperate authors. And now the internet is so powerful that the traditional marketing they used is stuck in the back seat (if not the trunk). The monopoly is broken.
But here comes the other side… (more…)
November 19, 2013 | Categories: ►The Craft of Writing | Tags: Amazon, author, authors, Book, craft, discipline, editing, novel writing, novels, paradigm shift, patience, publish, publishing, publishing houses, Self-publishing, the arts, traditional publishing houses, Vanity press, writers, Writers Resources, writing | 12 Comments
Novel writing is complicated, but not nearly so complicated as novel writers. Creativity is a strange animal, and it leads authors in strange directions. Recently I discovered Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, which is primarily about overcoming resistance and truly chasing the artist’s life. It’s filled with many excellent insights, and I recommend it. However, he does spend some time discussing his sincere belief in the ancient Muses and Daimons and their influence over his own writing. (In case you don’t know, this is tantamount to saying that you really do believe in Zeus, and that Apollo is really guiding you on a journey.)
And then last week I came across a Ted Talk where Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) makes similar claims of the guiding force of supernatural agents. Weird? Well, yeah, but really this is no different than people believing that the “Holy Ghost guides them” in their projects, as some Christian artists assert.
November 6, 2013 | Categories: ►The Craft of Writing | Tags: angst, art, artists, authors, calming, creativity, Elizabeth Gilbert, fantasy, magic, Muse, muses, novels, resistance, Steven Pressfield, stress, Ted Talk, War of Art, willpower, writers, writers block, Writers Resources, writing | 5 Comments
Scores of elements can be listed that are prerequisites for someone soaring high in their craft, from ludicrously overpaid sports icons to the world’s deadliest assassins. There are many essential skills a writer must have in order to produce great work. The most important one, however, is not all that mystical. It’s not “inspiration” (however we want to define that). It’s not witty, flowing prose or enthralling characters. It’s not complex (but unconvoluted) plots, and it’s as sure as hell not how strongly the writer feels when he writes it.
This single skill, to the disappointment of all of those who believe that lightning will strike and make you a Shakespeare, is simply iron-clad discipline.
True success as an artist means that you’ve accepted that it’s adult-time; artistry of any realm (even being a world-class assassin) means that you must develop serious discipline in order to perfect those 20-30 other serious skills required to succeed. (Being a superb marksman by itself only accounts for a small fraction of the killing business.) Of course, by ‘succeed’ I do not mean that you got published by a major publishing house and/or sold millions of copies. That happens with a lot of people who I’d call mediocre (if I am feeling generous). Nepotism/cronyism/billion dollar religious cults can get any hack to the NYT top 10 list.