When you feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope (or chain) with your latest manuscript—before your shred it into tiny little pulp flakes—take a moment to read the following writing advice.
Who knows? It might just be enough to rev up your genius motor and get you back to saying: “Type magic fingers, type!”
1. Have your characters avoid asking questions. Instead have them speak in declarative statements. Instead of saying, “What happened to your face?” Have a character make a statement, “Your face looks horrible. I knew going to the bar was a bad idea.”
2. Have characters agree. It’s an easy trap (and a realistic one) to have characters disagree. We tend to think that causes drama. But actually it stalls a plot. Have characters agree and suddenly your plot goes to unexpected territory.
With permission from Patrick Wensink, author of “Fake Fruit Factory.”
The editor spent about three weeks doing the first run-through of my book, Bosses and Blackjacks. She has an incredible ability to pick up on a missed comma or end quote or verb tense consistency, among a myriad of other things.
So, of course, I thought to myself: If it took her three weeks to plod through my manuscript—writing she had never seen before—certainly, I will only need two to review her edits.
Ha! As Eliza Doolittle sang in My Fair Lady:
“What a fool I was, what an addlepated fool!”
Week two is ending as I type this. Am I finished? No way. I have already sent the requisite email message begging her indulgence for an additional week.
Wish me luck. Please.
Now, if you’ll excuse me—I’ve got some revising to do.
Do you set time limits for yourself when you begin a task—be it writing, a household chore, or a life-altering activity? And, what do you do when you smack face-first into that deadline wall?
Please share your experiences, or advice, or both, in the Comment section below.
I believe the actual quote is: “If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride.”
But, when I was a child, my mother used to tell me: “If wishes were horses, you’d have a stable full!”
She was right. I was always wishing for something or other. The interesting thing is, nothing has changed. I’m still adding horses to my stable.
My current wish is to get my act together and finish editing my book, Bosses and Blackjacks. I don’t seem to be able to do any serious work on it until after three o’clock in the afternoon. That takes me crashing headlong into dinner time. I know I should be cooking, but I’d much rather keep on working and have someone else spoon-feed me until I want to quit for the day.
Am I being unreasonable? Wishful thinking?
Does anyone else out there have this sort of “particular-time-of-day-when-you-want-to-just-keep-at-it-until-you-exhaust-yourself” issue?
Let me know in the comment section below.
In the meantime, I’ve got to go put some fresh water in the troughs.
Do you read? Do you like words placed in order that eventually add up to stories? Do you enjoy punctuation? If so, you’ve come to the right place!
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