“In nearly all good fiction, the basic plot form is this: A central character wants something, goes after it despite opposition, and arrives at a win, loss, or draw.”—John Gardner (via amandaonwriting)
“‘One more book’, he had told himself,’ then I’ll stop. One more folio, just one more. One more page, then I’ll go up and rest and get a bite to eat.’ But there was always another page after that one, and another after that, and another book waiting underneath the pile. ‘I’ll just take a quick peek to see what this one is about,’ he’d think, and before he knew he would be halfway through it.”—2005 George R. R. Martin (American author/screenwriter, 1948) ~ A Feast for Crows; via larmoyante (via petitpoulailler)
“There’s no such thing as ‘men’ or ‘women’. There’s only the individual character you’re writing. One guy emailed me asking me how to write women, and I couldn’t answer, because I had no idea which woman he meant: me? Eleanor of Aquitaine? Lady Gaga? If you’re thinking of ‘men’ or ‘women’ as a monolithic group defined primarily by their sex, then you’re not thinking of them as individuals; so your character isn’t going to come out as an individual, but as a collection of stereotypes. Sure, there are differences between men and women on average – but you’re writing an individual, not an average. If your individual character is chatty on the phone or refuses to ask for directions, that needs to be because of who he or she is, not because of what he or she is. Write the person, not the genitalia.”
After releasing the most fabulous tips you’ve ever read on how to become a Kindle bazillionaire (you’re welcome) I thought it only fair to share ten incredible secrets on how to become traditionally published.
You can thank me when you’re swimming in a pool full of Benjamins made completely out of your royalties. (read more)
Now it’s your turn to share your wisdom. What incredible tips would you add to the list?
“And once you realize you don’t need validation to find happiness, there is a wonderful world waiting for you - the world that lives inside your imagination. Treasure your imagination. Happiness is in there, and so is good literature. You don’t need to reminisce about childhood to find it. Unhappiness is not a requisite for good writing. You need to understand that you can be happy being happy - just allow yourself the chance.”—Nick Miller, Isn’t It Pretty To Think So? (via armonster)
“To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself…Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.”—Mark Twain (via writersrelief)
While it’s true that something like 95% of the time, that first novel will end up trunked and likely later be referred to as a practice novel, that doesn’t mean you have to mentally doom your first novel to be just a practice novel. (read more)
What thoughts and tips do you have on writing the first novel?
“That is my problem with life, I rush through it, like I’m being chased. Even things whose whole point is slowness, like drinking relaxing tea. When I drink relaxing tea I suck it down as if I’m in a contest for who can drink relaxing tea the quickest.”— Miranda July (via karanablue)
“I fell in love with books. Some people find beauty in music, some in painting, some in landscape, but I find it in words. By beauty, I mean the feeling you have suddenly glimpsed another world, or looked into a portal that reveals a kind of magic or romance out of which the world has been constructed, a feeling there is something more than the mundane, and a reason for our plodding.”—Donald Miller (via aslovelyasatree)
Now don’t get me wrong—I still love first drafting for all of the same reasons and more, but over time I’ve come to realize that first drafting is no longer my favorite part of writing: revision is. (read more)
Let the discussion begin: What is your favorite part of the writing process and why?
“There’s absolutely no reason you can’t write in ANY genre if you are prepared to put the work in. Genre is craft. Craft can be learnt. So learn the conventions of the genre you want to write. Watch all the movies in that genre, big and small; read all the scripts. Go to events, learn about it. Read articles, blogs, soak it all up.”—Lucy Vee (via amandaonwriting)
“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.”—Hunter S. Thompson; The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967 (via wordpainting)
“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”—Patrick Rothfuss - The Name of the Wind (via fantasybookquotes)
"Writing has nothing to do with publishing. Nothing. People get totally confused about that. You write because you have to - you write because you can’t not write. The rest is show-business. I can’t state that too strongly. Just write - worry about the rest of it later, if you worry at all. What matters is what happens to you while you’re writing the story, the poem, the play. The rest is show-business." -- Peter S. Beagle
In reply to your post about naming characters, I use a name that has a meaning that matches their personality or looks. For example, for a pale, sorrowful character, I would use Dolores Blanche (which means "sorrowful" and "white").
I love it when I find a name that not only sounds right for a character, but the meaning fits as well. It can be difficult to find a name you like with the proper meaning, but when it comes together, it’s fantastic. :)
“For just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever.”—Lev Grossman, The Magicians (via m4nnerisms)
“While we read a novel, we are insane—bonkers. We believe in the existence of people who aren’t there, we hear their voices… Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed.”—Ursula K. Le Guin (via amandaonwriting)
And the biggest piece of advice I can give you is this: take a sheet of paper and write down five things that would make you really, really happy in your career. Then write down five things that would be “best case scenario” things. And lastly write five “in your wildest dreams” things.
Keep that list. Remember that list. Because in this business the finish line is constantly moving. One day you really just want an agent. Then it’s a book deal. Then it’s a bestseller. Then it’s a movie. Then it’s a castle next to JK Rowling’s.
In short, appreciate things as they’re happening, remember that once upon a time that thing was a dream of yours and that it’s still a dream for someone. So be grateful every day.
“The novel is an event in consciousness. Our aim isn’t to copy actuality, but to modify and recreate our sense of it. The novelist is inviting the reader to watch a performance in his own brain.”—George Buchanan (via amandaonwriting)
In the end, there isn’t a rule that says first drafts have to be awful. The key is that writers must be willing to accept that sometimes the first draft will be awful and sometimes they have to rip it apart before they can get to the real story, and if that’s you, it’s ok. (read more)
Discussion time! What is your first draft process like? Do you write quickly then revise heavily later, or are you more careful with your first drafts?
“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dated, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”—Stephen King, ‘On Writing’ (via eudainoia)