Tips to Write By

Tips to Write By

I’ve been plugging away on my next offerings, but I’ve had a bit of trouble of late, due to an ongoing renovation of a rental property. It’s sometimes a difficult concept for people to understand, but creativity is a fickle entity, and when something interrupts it, the mojo can be difficult to retrieve. I have particularly noted this in the past couple of months, as the requirement to do a different kind of work than what I am used to has caused my creativity to be stifled to a certain extent.

How can this be overcome? If anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears! It’s tough, and I sometimes stare at the screen—the lights are on, but nobody’s home. I try to simply get things out, as then I’m able to use what I’ve already got and modify. I also have some quotes from famous authors which speak to me and help me whether things are going well or not. I’d like to share some of them with you.

  • Orson Scott Card said: “Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” True! I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve seen something and thought it would be a great idea for a story. Now, if only I could see all thousand . . .
  • Mark Twain once said: “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.” “Very” is not the only word you could use this with. “Somewhat,” “really,” and “just” are a few examples of throwaway words which have little value in writing. While Twain’s point is humorous, as many of his quotes tend to be, the principle is sound.
  • Nancy Kress said: “Fiction is about stuff that’s screwed up.” Amen!
  • Anton Chekhov said: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” This is one of the best examples of “show, don’t tell” out there. The trick, of course, is to come up with something which not only sounds beautiful but doesn’t come off as trite, which is more difficult than it sounds.
  • Truman Capote said: “I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.” Who among us writes perfectly the first time? Editing is a wonderful thing, one which, when used properly, can take a lump of carbon and polish it into a diamond.
  • In conjunction with Capote’s quote, C. J. Cherryh said: “It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.” What a wonderful quote! It’s saved me many a time when I’ve wondered what kind of garbage I’m writing!
  • Stephen King advises, “Read a lot and write a lot.” If you can’t do both of those, there is no sense in trying to be a writer. This is probably the best writing advice you can ever get.
  • Stephen King also said: “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” I think I’ll have to agree and disagree with him on this one. While too many adverbs are distracting and lazy, I find it also distracting when a perfectly good adverb is substituted with two lines of prose. Exaggeration? Yes. But there are times when no other word fits.
  • And finally, Somerset Maugham said: “If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.” Thank you, sir! I think this is the reason why things always seem to come together. Especially when what I’ve just written seems more awful than usual!

I hope you enjoyed my list of inspirational writing quotes!

5 Responses to Tips to Write By

  1. I agree with you about the adverbs. Sometimes one is just the word needed. Also. There is a s=difference between “he ran quickly” and “he sprinted”. Adverbs aren’t only words that end in “ly.” Adverbs answer “where, when, why, and how.” What is usually meant is for authors to avoid words ending in “ly.” using a more descriptive verb is recommended as well as having the text show whatever it was the adverb was modifying. It is difficult when writing dialogue to show that one was angry and shouting wiithout saying so. The recommendation is to show him prowling around the room yelling and hitting the furniture or having his face turn red or white with anger. Sometimes it is just easier to say he shouted angrily so one can get on with the rest of the scene.

  2. The reason I’m not a writer – the only story ideas I see are when I read them in somebody’s book?. I am REALLY in awe and VERY impressed by you authors who JUST seem to be able to effortlessly write such great Darcy and Elizabeth stories which I SOMEWHAT enjoy.

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