A Writer’s Path is featuring a great interview with spec-fic author Larry Correia. Larry offers sound advice on traditional vs. self-publishing, the importance of marketing, and the absolute necessity of doing your homework so your readers are pulled in by the authenticity of your narrative. The focus of the interview is firearms, modern and antique, but Correia notes that “It isn’t just guns, but any topic where the reader is an expert and the author is clueless.”
So true. Here are some of the mistaken assumptions I’ve seen as an editor and while critiquing other writers:
– A pipsqueak, whether male or female, who’s secretly a “martial arts expert,” deftly pounds a muscle-bound bully into submission. Without getting a scratch. Yeah. Okay, I’ve been in both judo and karate tournaments, and trust me, sparring is ALWAYS strictly separated by sex, rank, and weight. Even among trained fighters, size matters.
– Same martial arts expert rams the bully’s nose bone into his brain, instantly killing him. Wrong. It can’t be done.
– Starting a fire by rubbing two loose sticks together. Please – step away from the computer, go outside – way outside – and spend the weekend camping. It’ll do you good, as well as teaching you a thing or two about life in the wild.
There are countless other pitfalls caused by relying on movies and TV for your research. Don’t do it. A writer needs a storehouse of experience to infuse his fiction with verisimilitude. When I was researching Cameron Obscura, I taught myself how to rappel down a wall. It was a blast, and it provided me with a gold mine of sensory details that made the story come alive.
“For me, silence had always been another form of communication. After all, you can tell so much just by looking at a person. At home we always knew about each other even if we didn’t talk about ourselves all the time. I encountered a lot of silence elsewhere as well. There was the silence that was self-imposed, because you could never say what you really thought.” – Herta Müller, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize for literature, on the significance of what characters in her novels don’t say.
“Books don’t just compete against books.” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on the phenomenal growth of ebooks.
Bezos is right – books don’t just compete with other books.
e.e. cummings once noted that his poems not only had to compete with other fine poems, but also with “flowers and balloons and mud puddles and train rides,” and anything else that appeals to our senses and imagination. That little reminder should spur writers to make every word count.
“What a delicious thing writing is — not to be you anymore but to move through the whole universe you are talking about. Take me today, for instance: I was a man and woman, lover and mistress; I went riding on a fall afternoon beneath the yellow leaves, and I was the horse, the leaves, the wind, the words he and she spoke, and the red sun beating on their half-closed eyelids, which were heavy with passion.” – Gustave Flaubert
Writing is acting. It is the channeling of imagined personalities so we can transpose them into words. It’s an endeavor that requires many skills, which is why it can be so frustrating when we can’t pull it off the way we want, and why it is so bone-deep gratifying when it all comes together.
The best writing blogs, compiled by reh
Ipuna Black: Inspirational Hike
Dave’s Corner of the Universe: Blood Filled Craters of Death on the Moon! (ya gotta love that title!)
Jack Ronald Cotner: Ancient Celtic Blacksmiths
Rose Red: The Poem of the Spanish Poet
Harsh Reality: Ten Ways to Get New Followers (From a blogger who knows what he’s talking about!)
Ms. Toy Whisperer: Momism
Kurt Brindley: March Headlong Into The Wind
The Quiet Fantasy Blog Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens