Friday, January 22, 2010

Just One Writing Tip

The other night, I'm in bed tossing and turning, counting sheep at nearly three in the morning, trying my best to fall asleep, when those amazing, fully-alive characters I created from the book I'm wrapping up kept talking to me, one after the other, and I couldn't make them stop. Seems they always try to talk when I'm in the shower, or driving, or when I'm trying to fall asleep. A while back when ideas would come to me - like when a character whispered to me that the murder suicide wasn't really a suicide at all, but that the murderer was still alive - I'd either get up and run into my office to jot them down, or I'd stay in bed, too lazy to move, finding ways to embed it all into my brain so I'd remember it when I woke up, but of course, I didn't.

My one writing tip is for authors to remember to always keep a notepad, post-it, tape recorder, rock, Etch-A-Sketch, something, beside the bed so that these yapping characters we obviously did such a great job bringing to life can tell us what's up, and then we can get our crafty, character-birthing, word-loving selves some sleep. Got it? Get up, flick the switch to the night-light or write in the dark, and make note of it. It's a whole lot easier than driving ourselves crazier than the bug-eyed woman in the above picture the next day, missing out on what could have made your next chapter a whole helluva lot easier. Write on!

Can you pick just one tip for writers? Please share. :-)


bettye griffin said...

My tip would be for writers to keep one file of all your ideas, even if it's one sentence. Later, you may find that two or more of these ideas can really be combined into one book.

Farrah Rochon said...

Great tips, ladies.

Marissa, each book I write gets its own tablet, and I take it with me everywhere.

Bettye, each book also has what I call "The Parking Lot". Sometimes I'll write a scene or even just a sentence I really like, but that doesn't fit. I park it in the parking lot for potential later use.

My one tip for writers would be to trust your writing voice, even if it goes against the "rules". I get so tired of hearing what you can and can't do in writing. It's your book. Do what you have to do to make it brilliant, and don't worry about rules you may be breaking.

Chris said...

I follow that advice too with a notebook. My trusty Moleskine. I also keep a notebook in Microsoft Notebook with a list of article titles.

Liane Spicer said...

My tip would be to show no one your story until you complete the first draft. After that you can 'open the door' if you like and let your critique mates in, then take or leave their advice.

How can you create a story that's truly yours when there are dissonant voices outside of you giving their two cents' worth on everything from your characters' names to your plot? Don't you run the risk of having those voices drown your own?

Marissa Monteilh said...

Great tip, Bettye. It does help to have ONE place - I used to run around searching for where I wrote all of those notes.

Farrah - yep, I use cliches whenever I please :-)

Chris - Nice, it's so great flipping back thru a notebook when you''re done and see that you've covered it all.

Liane - I had two people argue over which suggestion I should pick (the name Rilla or Willie)- neither, LOL.