[found on nytimes.com; by COLSON WHITEHEAD]
“Write what you know. Bellow once said, “Fiction is the higher autobiography.” In other words, fiction is payback for those who have wronged you.
When people read my books “My Gym Teacher Was an Abusive Bully” and “She Called Them Brussels Sprouts: A Survivor’s Tale,” they’re often surprised when I tell them they contain an autobiographical element.
Therein lies the art, I say. How do you make that which is your everyday into the stuff of literature? Listen to your heart. Ask your heart, Is it true? And if it is, let it be. Once the lawyers sign off, you’re good to go.”
For more excellent tips on writing from Colson Whitehead, click here.
[found on dittomusic.com]
Two tips of ten for writing music:
“Tune In To Your Emotions
When writing songs, it’s important to make sure that the lyrics have a powerful emotional impact. One of the best ways to make sure a song has an emotional impact is by writing lyrics with passion. It’s essential to be passionate about something in life. Without passion, everyday life can become dull and uninteresting. This insipid and bland lifestyle can seep into one’s lyrics. When you sell music online, don’t send people to sleep
Do Crazy Stuff
Few people ever hear a truly great song that was written by an accountant or a dentist. While these are good career choices, many musicians lead colorful lives that serve as an inspiration for their lyrics.”
To see more tips from Ditto Music, click here.
[found on writing.ie; by Maggie Smith Hurt]
“Beginning to write poetry is about beginning to think about moments, stories, memories as their complete selves and then finding the right way to make those things lean, to amp up the right words to convey the tension, ambiguity and softness.
It’s a task a bit like painting a horse on a grain of rice….all the right things in the right place but the space is smaller and so the subject, all the more significant in its purest form, becomes the whole thing, the little nugget of art- the whole picture.”
For more great tips on poetry from Maggie Smith Hurt, click here.
[found on writing-world.com; by Karen Wiesner]
“Let your characters decide the level of intimacy, not publisher guidelines.
I used to base everything I wrote on what the publishers might buy. I suppose it makes some sense to do that when you’re not published. Target your publisher, then tailor what you write to that set of guidelines. Sounds logical, right? I’m not so sure. A part of me really believes that the reason I didn’t sell all those years was because I was trying to write for everyone else except myself and what fit my characters. If you’re writing for someone else, you’re not writing what’s in your heart… and it’s going to show.
The same is true for love scenes. In every one of my books, the level of intimacy is a little different, depending on what that particular hero and heroine dictate. Restless as Rain and Forever Man are strongly what I dub “romantic erotica” because the emotions are as hot as the physical lovemaking. The characters in these books are very extreme, larger than life and they demand a sexuality that suits their personalities. In First Love, the sexual tension is definitely there from start to finish and the love scenes are satisfying without being overtly erotic.
However, the hero and heroine in this book are in need of emotional healing, more so than sexual healing. Their lovemaking is part of that healing process, and it suited them to have emotionally sensual loves scenes rather than down-and-dirty, deep ones. Leather & Lace, my first published book, was completely different. The heroine in the book was very innocent and naive. When she thought of lovemaking, it was always in a more “romantic” sense and, because she was so private, having more low-key love scenes were appropriate. The sexual tension remained throughout, however.”
For more tips on writing from Karen Wiesner, click here.
[found on inspirationforwriters.com]
“Flashbacks and foreshadowing are tools that we can use to add dimension to our writing. Flashbacks give us the ability to see into a character’s past in real time. Foreshadowing drops hints of what may happen in the future. Are either one required in order to tell an effective story? No. However, there are times when they can add depth to our characters or suspense to our plot, and trust me, we can use whatever help we can get.
Flashbacks interrupt the current action of the story to show a scene from the past. As such, we must always weigh the advantages to the disadvantages. Are the benefits we receive worth leaving our characters dangling in time while we go into the past? If so, don’t hesitate to use a flashback. If not, continue with your story line and find other ways, such as exposition, discussion, etc. to entwine the past with the present.
If you choose to use a flashback, you must tip the reader that you are leaving the present. This can be done with a transition statement such as, “John remembered the day his father died.” Then, use past perfect (“had”) two or three times to complete the clue that we are entering real time in the past. And you are in the past. Act out your scene with action and dialogue, and when you are finished, clue the reader that you are returning to the present by using past perfect once or twice, and, if necessary, another transition sentence (“But that was then and this was now, and John had to let the past stay in the past.”).”
For more tips from Inspiration For Writers, click here.