Feb 18, 2012

Writing your way to a best seller

It can be more than a dream; it can become a reality. No matter what your state of mind or experience about writing, everyone has at least one book in him to make that dream come true. Aspiration starts with desire, curiosity, interest. You have read a book and have been blown away about how the story was told and the sheer beauty of the arrangement of words. Or you have seen something or heard something that you want to capture and remember, and so the pen comes out. Do not doubt that you can write; there are different kinds of writing. If you can write a verse for a Hallmark card or send a handwritten note to invite someone to dinner, you can write.

Ideas to incorporate in your daily writing

·                    If you have something to write about, start right away and do not worry what the character is up to. Let the character run wild on the page; later on you will reel the character in and give it substance and develop it. Your writing at this stage should be free and anything at all you want to write about. Aspiring writers who want to do a short story right away should do it anyway just to get it out of the system and to enjoy the fun of writing. Writing for the most part for most people can become difficult and confusing because you are attempting too many things at the same time. Still, the idea is to write and to love writing.

·                    The best way to get experience is to write snippets when you start out; short little vignettes of an event you have witnessed or been part of. This does two things; if the event was traumatic, writing about it is helpful, it is also a place where you can put a little plot together and give it a suitable ending. Vignettes and postcard stories work on the following principle: an inciting incident, resolve the problem, and get out. Read lots and lots of short story collections and anthologies to see what the writer does. 

·                    Have a favorite place to write where it is out of the way of other members of the household and take an hour or more every day to write. This exercise is valuable because if you have the makings of a writer and the writing bug starts to get you, you are on your way. Don’t even begin to think of techniques of writing and composition and grammar. Don’t let your left brain interfere when you are busy creating. You have a lifetime ahead of you. Don’t force things onto the page. Ideas will come to you. You will suddenly find yourself getting the urge to write. Don’t make the mistake thinking that using big words will impress anyone. Just sit back for a moment and think of all those luscious things in the back of your mind; they’re all small words.

·                    This writer started at age twelve. A few books were published – historical fiction in South Africa – and then the big one, Confessions of a Gambler. It resulted in several awards, both in book form and in film, but as I am writing to you now, I am still in my favorite spot writing, writing and writing. Yes, I am an addict. And yes, you will be back to read more about the process of writing. You don’t learn it in one book and in one year; you spend a lifetime getting it right, and you have to keep writing and reading – if only to learn more about yourself.

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