I’ve learned a few things about writing over the years. I’m no Steven King and writing is still difficult One of the best things I can pass onto you is to read books on writing.
It will get easier
I used to find writing a real pain. It would take me forever to write a script. The Kaiser’s Assassin took me an astounding 4 months to write. Now I write two scripts of that length each month! It gets easier and you get faster. So the best advice I can give is to muscle it out at the beginning and know that it will get easier.
Wrestle with it
I used to wonder why a composer like Mozart could write music that was amazing and then a piece that was trite. Was brilliance simply a roll of the dice? I suspect there isn’t any luck involved. Mozart’s brilliant, genius-level pieces were simply a result of putting in more work. I asked a musician friend about this and he said this was true. When you look at the score, you can tell when Mozart was wrestling with the music.
This is the same for writing fiction. The more you wrestle with it, the better it will be.
Make it Simple
Imagine a thick wire coated in colourful plastic. Now cut the wire. Inside are tons of smaller wires. As a writer, you’re an electrician trying to loop and connect all those internal wires so the current flows smoothly. But the reader shouldn’t see that process. All they should see is a one big fat plastic-coated wire. It should look simple. The reader should be mystified as to why such a simple story makes them feel such complex and deep emotions.
Snap them all together…
When I write, I mention ideas that later manifest into situations. This could be a theme, like abandonment. In City of Pyramids, abandonment was mentioned early on and later manifested itself when Satiah was then left to die on a cross. Terrible though this was, there is something satisfying in the way the theme comes full circle.
I have this image of wires snapping together with a current moving through them. I hate leaving loose wires dangling in a story–unresolved avenues of current that sparkles with wasted energy. They drain the life energy from a story.
Raise the Stakes
Grammar and Word Choice
Here are a few snappy rules of thumb that will help your writing:
- Use adverbs sparingly (‘sparingly’ is an adverb). This is Steven King’s biggest pet peeve. She said sadly, He said sardonically. No! Just use he said, or she said.
- Only use said and not yawned or shouted or bellowed. It should be obvious from the context how the character says the words. Another of Steven King’s pet peeves.
- Use John said and not said John. If you forget this rule, just switch out John for he and you’ll immediately discover one of them sounds like ye olde english… said he.