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Discussion > Writing Class > Advice


Eldritch (July 2nd, 2002, 11:54 pm)

Seems everyone should start giving me advice on how to write. After all, I am the youngest and least experienced of the writers. So any direct advice is needed. I will not take any:" learn to write kid, you do this and that..." comments personally. Help.


cruise (July 3rd, 2002, 12:07 pm)

Practice :P

Oh, and my favourite advice of all time. REad stuff you've written OUT LOUD. It makes it so much easier to see what bits are awkward when you try and read them with feeling and proper sense stress.


Semirrahge (July 3rd, 2002, 12:57 pm)

No Bill and Ted reference intended!

1) How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Orson Scott Card

In this book Card explains world building, the basics of building a Sci-Fi world and the related problems, and the same thing for a Fantasy tale. Also covers getting published.

2) Character and Viewpoint, by Orson Scott Card

Here, he talks about inventing your characters, creating them, and then using them in your story. He has a whole section devoted to POV where he illustrates the purposes, differences, and weaknesses of each style. Perhaps the point where you realize (I did, anyhow) that Card knows what he's talking about is when he uses first-person to describe the reasoning of a wife-beating husband. Horrible and vile person that the narrator is, we understand his position now. It changes him from a monster into a misguided person who is merely trying to fulfill his needs. Yes, it's still wrong, but... Get my point? I'm going to read this again soon.

3) On Writing by Stephen King

Another superb repository of knowledge from a master. Superbly well-written, he covers everything from why you write (extremly important) to character design and publishing. Along the way, he tells the story of his life, including his near-death accident in whatever the year was... 1999, I think. This book makes you want to PUT IT DOWN AND START WRITING RIGHT NOW!!!

All very good works, I've read many writing books and these are the only ones I've ever needed. These are good enough to buy without reading them first, even... Amazon sells all of them, though the hardback Card books will have to be bought used.


Ben (July 3rd, 2002, 10:32 pm)

That's the single most important thing, I think. Read a lot and you'll absorb the writing style. Also remember that "good writing" is a very subjective thing; writing that some people love will be seen as terrible by others, and vice versa.


Eldritch (July 4th, 2002, 12:17 am)

Thanks! I do read often, but Semi had recommended those boks, I'll check if Borders has them this Saturday.


Narainsbrain (July 4th, 2002, 6:31 am)

i second cruise and ben's suggestions. (i haven't read semi's recommended books, so i can't say about that)

and, oh yeah, when you read, pay attention to everything in it. look for things you can learn from, everything from little details like expressive words you haven't used before, to big things like how the plot is developed and the main ideas brought into view. a second reading of a good book helps a lot if you're looking to learn from the writing style.

but by galaxy, i need to start following my own advice...


piqument (September 6th, 2002, 7:29 pm)

It just makes sense. You do absorb the style...which can be an interesting thing if you're in the middle of writing a story, and it starts coming through!


Siedhr (October 17th, 2002, 3:59 pm)

my advice would be this: find yourself, discover what you want to write about and why, get out, live, see things for yourself, don't try to emulate anyone (don't ever, ever say, after you've read something really good : "I want to write like that"), be yourself ...

think of your reader, always think of him/her... expect and ask for criticism, your work will never be perfect (don't expect it to be either)

find your pace, your tempo, concentrate on the substance of your story rather than the form. Style gets defined and refined in time, it can be worked on, but if a story has no basis it will be just a bunch of pretty words and almost anyone could do that, given the time and the advice.

and finally be honest when you write and think of your work, put a little piece of yourself in there.

good luck, I'm in dire need of reading something :)

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