Seek Writing Knowledge You Will

One great thing about the internets is that it is chock full of resorces for writers. There is pretty much no aspect of writing that isn’t covered. Your stuck on something in your book? Well, the odds are pretty good someone with some know-how has posted about at some point. There is also a lot of crap and misinformation out there too. You can find plenty of folk out there looking to give “advice” for a fee. While some of this is certainly worth the time, effort, and expense, there is a lot out there from folks just looking to take advantage of ignorance.

During the past couple of years, the ability for people who have always wanted or thought about writing a book, to make it happen, has grown exponentially. While it is definitely easier to get work out there in the public tosee and actually make a bit of money doing it, one still has to write the damn thing. Writing a good story is hard to say the least. It’s far more than just sitting down at the computer with a great idea and cranking out words until you type “the end.” Too many writers come into this business with blinders on, with glorious dreams filling their heads, and the fact is, they just don’t know what they’re getting into. While I’m not trying to discourage anyone here who has dreams of publishing a novel (it’s a fantastic dream after all), be aware that this journey is not easy. The ease with which you can publish has nothing to do with how easy it might be to write. So, assume you know less than you do. Writing is a lifelong learning experience. It’s far more than just dreaming of publishing your story. Dream of becoming the best possible writer. Focus your energies on becoming a fantastic storyteller.

Toward that end, inform yourself. A LOT. You can never have too much information when it comes to good writing. Dedicate yourself to learning the craft, because odds are, you aren’t as good as you think you are, and likely never will be. And yes, I’m in that boat too. I believe I’m a pretty good storyteller. However, I know I have a long ways to go in becoming a good writer. For those who are mathematically inclined, the learning curve is exponential, steep on the front end, but never hitting a maximum value. You can always get better. There is always something to learn. Always. So, be willing to learn people. Continually take steps to improve your craft, whether it’s through books, mentoring, school, workshops, conferences, or finding info here on the internet. Double check your sources too. Always verify that your source is legit, and I can assure you, if a source is not, someone out there has said something about it. It’s far to easy to get blinded by your dreams, overwhelmed by the excitement, or just plain not have the patience to try and make sure you know what you are doing. Patience, people. If you want to pursue this craft you have to have it in spades.

Anyway, in the spirit of learning, I’m going to regularly put up writing tips given by succesful and/or well known authors. Because writing is so subjective, some you may find useful, others not so much. They’re more to get you thinking about writing or some small aspect of it. And occasionally, just to poke some fun at writing in general, because with any endeavor, it’s always good to have a sense of humor about things.

Writing Tip of the Day:

Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs”. — Elmore Leonard

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