It is a grim anniversary today. How many stories were abruptly ended when those two towers fell? How many books will never be written?
The Doughnut Principle:
If you can substitute a character in a book or film with a doughnut and still have the plot make sense, it is probably a poorly constructed character.
A word of warning: As writers, we are creators, gods . . . but only in our rooms, at our desks, on the pages we write. In the real world, we are just another human being trying to sell a commodity we believe other people need, and writers-in-training would do well to remember this when dealing with publishers. No indignant rants, please, no streams of complaints, perfectionist critiques, or snobbish appearances. They do not want your book badly enough to bow to your godliness.
Well, it’s been a while, but I’m back from my hiatus. For the last three months I’ve been working in a publishing house in the UK, getting lots of practical experience in editing and marketing books. Get ready for tips from the technical end to start flooding your inbox (mixed into the philosophical, random musings customary to this blog, of course)!
Get on a computer and design the dream cover of your finished book. Print it out and tack it to the wall above where you write. Imagine the way it will feel in your hands, thick and heavy and hot off the presses. Imagine stacking them on shelves like bricks with their beautiful glossy spines shouting your name over and over in authoritative lettering. Imagine a stranger finding it in a bookstore and thumbing through it, wondering if they should buy it.
Repeat every time you find yourself losing interest in your work.
Be aware: the most innocent-looking people can actually be closet writers.
That woman in the check-out line? She’s editing the second book in her young adult fantasy series. The man on the subway? His how-to manual on web design just got accepted for publication. That little kid who is throwing a tantrum in the parking lot? Later this evening she will create a picture book about a princess as a present for Grandma.
You are not alone.
With extremely few exceptions, writers need to be roughly 30 to start writing novels. If you’re under thirty, cut yourself some slack – Douglas Coupland
This has got to be the most heartening news I’ve received all week.
How many great novels were never written because someone was too lazy to jot down an idea?
Today I was the victim of a sudden, violent burst of glorious inspiration. I do believe others thought me insane as I grinned and giggled mischievously to myself and scribbled frantic notes down on the nearest piece of paper.