I really mean author/writer/poet. Past or present. Dead or alive.
If you glance over at my Bookish Bucket List you’ll see that there are a few authors I want to meet. It’s a nice little list of different authors, but there’s one I’d like to meet over all the rest. I talked about him yesterday. Robert B. Parker.
He’s influenced the entire genre that is detective fiction. I can see bits of his characters and style in most detective stories I read. And I’ve read interviews from bestselling authors of today who admit that their detectives were heavily influenced by Spenser. Parker shaped the modern detective story like no one else has.
But the thing is that I wouldn’t want to pick his brain about his characters or stories or any of that stuff. I’d just want to have a conversation with him. About anything. I might ask him about his family. Or about why he started writing in the first place. Or what he viewed as his single greatest accomplishment, writing-related or otherwise. I’d simply want to get to know the man behind one of the great characters of the last fifty years. But at no point would I ask for writing advice, because he’s more than just an author to me. He managed to influence me without ever knowing it in many more things besides my own writing.
What about you? If you could meet one writer/author/poet from any period, who would it be?
On this day in 2014 I published Listen While you…Write?.
Photo Credit: Ezine Articles
I have to be honest here. This was the first time since I adopted my Monday-Friday blogging schedule a few months ago that I wanted to just skip a day. Not that I think any of you would notice or care, but blogging is kind of important to me. Sounds stupid but it is. My reason for almost not posting today was because Team USA is set to play Germany today in their final Group Stage match right around the time this post will be scheduled to publish. I’m not the biggest soccer fan there is, but you bet your you know what that I’m a fan of Team USA. I was going to write about them and the World Cup and all of that, but I guess not.
Okay. we’ve all seen the writing tips credited to famous authors and also the advice that just seems to be from nowhere. I can’t tell you how many times in the last year I’ve read the phrase “Write what you know.” More honesty, I hate reading this crap. Write what you know. Well what if you’re like me and you don’t know a damn thing about writing or being a writer or plotting or any of that stuff? And your life experience is as ordinary as it gets.Then what the heck is the advice? “Write what you know nothing about?” That sounds about right to me. I’m sure y’all think I’m exaggerating when I say I don’t know anything about all this writing business, but I am telling you right now that I’m being completely honest when I say I’m clueless.
Let me repeat what I’ve mentioned in previous posts. Here’s how I write: I sit down. Write between 700-1500 words. Stop. Go about whatever else I’m doing that day or night. Write another 700-1500 words to finish up that chapter and move on. I’m not thinking about anything I know. I’m just writing whatever seems like it continues the story okay.
Now, I’m not sure that I’ve ever read anything about “Write what you read.” Maybe it’s been said a bunch and I’m just not in the loop, but maybe it hasn’t. No matter if writers all across the world believe in this philosophy or not a single one, this is me. You guys should know pretty well by now that I read crime fiction all the time. I love it. I write it. Why is this? Because over the years i feel that I’ve read enough perfect writing in the genre that has given me some ability to write my own stories. I’m not saying I’m some expert or that my writing is any better than the next guy, but I am saying that I write what and how I do because of what I’ve read. That’s it. Plain and simple.
My question for you is this: Do you believe in either of these writing philosophies?
If you haven’t heard “write what you read” before, then feel free to go ahead and credit the saying to me. Ha. Just kidding. Kinda.
Photo Credit: LawEssays
As you all know, there are SO many writers here on WordPress. Some have publishing deals, others have sellf-published, and yet more don’t know the first thing about grammar. The quality of the writer is impossible for you to know because no, writing a blog post is not and never will be the same as writing a new chapter in a story or any type of fiction at all. Yet all of these writers are constantly giving out advice like they’re some expert on the craft. Here’s what I think about all of the “advice” floating around the web, and specifically WordPress.
Ask for advice at your own risk. Have you read the work of the person giving you this seemingly magnificent advice? Or better, have they read your work? No to both, huh? Well then what the heck are you doing taking their advice? How can they tell you about plotting or your characters or anything at all that is specific to your writing if they’ve never read it? They can’t. All you’ll likely get is whatever happens to work for them. Even though the two of you aren’t the same person or writer. Weird.
Never take it. Okay, never is probably the incorrect word. How about very rarely. You should very rarely take their advice, unless it’s coming from some guy named Stephen King or something, then write it all down! But really, a lot of my writing blog posts ask for what other people do when this or that is happening in their writing. And I get plenty of comments and feedback, BUT ask me if I’ve ever actually incorporated something someone has told me into my own writing. The answer is honestly no. And the other aspect of this is that there are probably 5-10 bloggers who I’d actually listen to when it comes to writing advice. Can’t name them because now you can just assume that you’re one of them.
I think those two points cover what I have to say. Writing advice is all over, you shouldn’t just accept whatever is offered to you as fact. But I will still ask, have you ever taken advice from another blogger who wasn’t familiar with any of your work? Tell me why you’d do such a thing. I’ve received advice, but nothing has been incorporated as of yet. Some ideas will be used in the future, but these are a very few.