Write with the heart, edit with the head
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.” – Ancient proverb.
Some people write endless notes before they start on their novel. Some write notes, then more notes, and never get started. Or they get an idea. Or several ideas. And never get started.
What I say this: just start writing. Don’t worry about a detailed synopsis, or voluminous character notes, or world building. Just write. Write with your heart. With your guts. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. Be a rebel.
Once you’ve done the first draft, you can then start editing. With your head (as well as your heart of course).
The first in a series of writing tips that I have gleaned over the years. Hope some of you will find them useful. I’d love comments, too, if you want to improve on them, or want to send me some constructive disagreement.
Number 1: Write like you mean it
I have observed, over the years that some published and unpublished writers work hard to create stories purely for effect. To shock. Or to fit into a marketplace. For some people that approach may work. But readers aren’t stupid. They can spot a fake immediately. Trying to be clever is a transparent tactic, and particularly painful if you don’t have the skill to pull it off, to make is seem as though you are in earnest.
Honesty needn’t be the exclusive preserve of so-called “serious” literature. I feel it’s equally important to write like you mean it in genre fiction as it is in any other area of literary endeavour.
So, I recommend that instead of faking it, you try to feel it.
What do you think of this? Can you give examples of fakes, and contrast with good examples of the real deal?
My wife, Carole, managed to keep our two beautiful dogs still for this photo. You can clearly see the long-suffering expressions on their faces. Their tolerance with their humans knows no bounds…at least when there are treats on the go.
That Shakespeare fella…he was really quite good, wasn’t he? Just watched Kenneth Brannagh’s film adaptation from a few years back, of Much Ado About Nothing. I love the way the Bard can move from light to dark and back again. Slapstick humour crosses dark psychology, and of course love wins out. Shakespeare’s plays are, I reckon, the only remakes worth doing. Even Hollywood wouldn’t dare attempt Much Ado About Nothing 2. Having said that, the reworking of Taming of the Shrew, the film Ten Things I Hate About You, starring the wonderful Julia Stiles, was really excellent. If anyone who reads this blog has any views on subjects Shakespearian, remakes, reworkings and recommendation, I’d love to hear them.