Monday, August 30, 2010

Easy Does It

The writing that's the easiest to read is the hardest to write.

  1. Avoid cliches. Instead of saying "She's pulling her hair out!" say "She had clumps of eyelashes between her clenched fingers."
  2. Use colorful language. Say things like "Vivid pink splotches danced over her computer screen late at night, like Pepto Bismol for her eyes."
  3. Conflict is all important. "She ripped the spine out of her thesaurus when it refused to give up its secrets."
  4. Show, don't tell. Instead of telling the reader "She was losing her confidence as a writer," let them discover it themselves: "Her stiff neck could hardly support her head as it drooped under the weight of leaden ideas, too dense to express in a drizzle of words."
  5. Don't be afraid of being too obvious. If your character is scared, for instance, don't be subtle. Say, "She rubbed her churning stomach, wondering what would happen when she vomited chunks of her heart."
Writing fiction is very deceptive. Like riding a bicycle, it looked easy until I tried it. Now I feel like I'm learning to ride a bike on a narrow railroad trestle with a train roaring up behind me at full speed. (Picture Stand By Me.) I'm peddling as fast as I can, and I can't look down. Wednesday I turn Son of a Gun over to my editor.

I'm spitless.


Linsey said...

Congratulations! I can't wait to see the final product, you know, eventually. You've worked so hard, I hope you're very proud of yourself, you should be.

kenju said...

Fiction is extremely difficult to write!!

Christie said...

It's going to be fantastic. I seriously can't wait to read it.

Anonymous said...

You're awesome. Awesome. I want a personally signed copy.

Diane said...

Way to go! You've really stuck with it, and I'm sure, if your samples are any indication, it will be fantastic. What an accomplishment!

polly said...

i can't wait to read the whole book!

Tiffany said...

Congratulations! You're amazing and this is just the beginning, I'm sure!