Monday, December 1, 2008

Harder than it has to be?

The art of simpler living has been on my mind and filling my blog posts a lot lately. The need to simplify hit me over the head once again as I looked over the boxes and bins and tubs and bags full of Christmas decorations now waiting to be hung and strung.

All these so-called necessities remind me of the rows of writing how-to books that adorn my office bookshelves. So many important words of advice one must apply in order to succeed at writing a great book. Or, maybe not. I sometimes wonder if there is a conspiracy among the published "experts" to narrow the field of competition by making the novice feel as if there is simply no way to learn all one needs to know before they, too, can become a success in the fiction industry. Yes, there are certain basics one needs to know before attempting to write a staggering work of fiction genius. But don't be overly intimidated by those who would have you believe that if you don't write your book the way THEY tell you to write a book, you're on the fast track to failure.

Apply the rules of basic good grammar and sentence composition. Create intriguing and relate-able characters. Build in plenty of opportunity for your characters to triumph over adversity and conflict. Keep the action intense. Write a story lots of folks would be interested in reading. And soon you, too, will be an expert trying to psyche out your competition with a complicated list of writing dos and don'ts.

Say, here's a simple holiday gift-giving idea from Santa Kai for the mystery readers in your life--how about calling Barbour's customer service line(800-852-8010 and ordering a 3- 6- or 12-month subscription to our Heartsong Presents--MYSTERIES book club line?


Mary Connealy said...

Okay, well let me see if he could be any CUTER??????????

:D Nope, impossible.

I think, a lot of times, how-to writing books are an attempt by someone to put what comes naturally into words.

We talk about seat-of-the-pants, and plotting, MRUs motivation reaction units, RUE Resist the urge to explain, set the scene, use the senses, none of this is wrong, but I think a lot of writers are already doing it without being able to call it something.

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Mysteries as gift? What a marvelous idea, my dear. Simply marvelous!!

CatMom said...

Oh Susan....Santa Kai is ADORABLE!! I think in that last picture he's looking for his reindeer-LOL!! (a Baby Rudolph, maybe?!)....Thanks for sharing the basic writing tips and especially for sharing pics of Santa Kai !!
Patti Jo :)

Karen said...

Just said goodbye to my grands after having them for 2 1/2 weeks--8 days of which I had two of them all to myself. They grow so fast. Enjoy your Christmas, Grandma!

Debby Mayne said...

Kai is precious! He makes me even more eager to see my granddaughter whose due date is January 14.

Cathy S. said...

Your comment on overdosing on craft books is thought-provoking. I "get" that we need training. But sometimes when I sit down to write, my mind is simply flooded with what to do and what not do. I can't even write.

Some examples:

Avoid using "was."

Be sure he's "heroic." Are heroes heroic 24/7?

"That isn't believable" (even if it's actually happened before in real life),

"Too many coincidences" (you know, there are actually some funny coincidences in real life, which is presumably why the word was created)

"Use the five senses." (I'm not convinced I have 5 senses on full blast all the time, but maybe that's just me :)

Well, there's another one about not boring your readers, which is probably what I've done here! Sorry. I'll stop now.