“Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely essential.”
― Jessamyn West
[found on backstage.com]“1. The play does not always start at the beginning. Sometimes the first scene you write ends up in the middle of the play. This happens because when I write, I’m really channeling the voices of my characters. 2. A play is made up of moments that the character experiences as the story is revealed. 3. Ernest Hemigway said: “Good writing is true writing.” The best writing comes from trusting your gut feeling! 4. Even though every play or story has a beginning, a climactic moment, and a resolution, i stay true to the story by not trying to control it. 5. Teach the audience through laughter. The audience is able then to sympathize with their struggles and acquire a new sense of understanding for the world in which these characters live.”
“The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.”
– William Faulkner
“No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader’s intelligence or whose attitude is patronizing.”
– E. B. White
[found on dummies.com]
“At some point after you have a solid draft of the children’s book you’re writing, you must begin the editing process. Here’s a quick overview of the salient points to keep in mind.
- If a sentence doesn’t contribute to plot or character development, delete it.
- Make sure your characters don’t all sound the same when they speak.
- If you have a page or more of continuous dialogue, chances are it needs tightening.
- When changing place or time, or starting a new scene or chapter, provide brief transitions to keep your story moving smoothly.
- Make sure to keep the pace moving from action to action, scene to scene, chapter to chapter.
- If you find yourself using a lot of punctuation (!!!), CAPITAL LETTERS, italics, or bold, chances are your words aren’t working hard enough for you.
- When you can find one word to replace two or more words, do it.
- Be careful with changing tenses midstream. If your story is told in the past tense, stick with it throughout. If present tense, then stick with that. Be consistent.
- Watch excessive use of adjectives, adverbs, and long descriptive passages.
- After you choose a point of view for a character, stick to it.
- If your character hasn’t changed at the end of your story, chances are he isn’t yet fully fleshed out.
- If your character talks to himself or does a lot of wondering aloud, he needs a friend to talk to.
- If you’re bored with a character, your reader will be, too.
- If you can’t tell your story in three well-crafted sentences: the first one covering the beginning, the second one alluding to the climax (the middle), and the last one hinting at the ending — you may not have a complete story yet.
- If you find yourself overwriting because you’re having trouble expressing exactly what you mean, sit back and say it aloud to yourself, and then try again.”
[found on niemanstoryboard.org]
“FINDING THE STORY
- Every story has its surface-level meaning. Let’s say the surface story for “Titanic” is that a huge ocean liner goes down. But what is the theme of the movie? What is the real meaning of the story? Theme, at least in my view, is the underlying meaning of the story.
- Stories can have several thematic strings, and especially powerful ones are layered in that way. As a writer, I think you want to figure out what is the most important one, the one that you want to spend the most time on.
- When doing narrative, you have to sharpen your focus and figure out what your story is really about. Think about one set piece, performance, play or wedding – something that takes place within a set amount of time. There are also natural journeys like a road trip, or internal journeys, like addiction or abuse.
- If you’re the narrator, we need to see you and to understand who you are.
- When you’re trying to get readers to care, to get readers in on that, they have to see some of what you have seen. Try to figure out what it is that the reader really needs to know.
- If you decide to write about deeply personal things, you have to go all the way. If there’s painful stuff you’re holding back, it won’t work. If you’re not ready to go there, that’s fine; maybe let the story sit for a while.
NUTS AND BOLTS
- You want to engage the reader immediately – start in the middle of things.
- As you add to the number of characters in your story, the more complicated it becomes, because the reader has to keep track of more people.
- Once your language is powerful, your next step is to take it and pare it down, read it aloud and see when the sentences go on. When you find that, you either break up the sentence or get rid of adjectives and adverbs.
- Be simple and clear; don’t let the beauty take over – which is not to say you shouldn’t have any beautiful writing. You want some beautiful sentences, but you don’t want to overdo it.
- The more you focus your narrative on scenes, the stronger your narrative will become.
- Really good narrative writers talk about limiting the number of flashbacks. Tom French diagrams flashbacks with loops and tries not to have more than one or two.
- Metaphors are really hard to carry out. My advice would be to use them very sparingly. You can use so many layers of metaphors that you get confused. A story can be compelling without any overt metaphors.
- One really useful thing to do after you write your first draft is to see what happens after you remove the first paragraph or two. Often times it’s the second paragraph that’s the real beginning.
- Watch out for trying to explain too much.
- You don’t have to put a bow at the end or always have a totally clean resolution. Is there a way for you to evoke an idea without necessarily saying it or explaining it? Is there an image or scene that can convey a feeling or idea to close the piece?”