What a great post on how to start any novel. I particularly liked the idea for how to put in the protagonist’s backstory!
A big thank you to Mike Shaffer for the link.
He sent it to me through a comment: “Here are some more tips and advice from authors I’ve interviewed for the past three years on conference calls sponsored by NYT Bestselling Fantasy and Science Fiction author David Farland called Farland’s Authors Advisory. There are more than the call I’m posting, but they have a ton of amazing advice and as soon as more are scheduled, you can call in and ask questions of the authors yourself if you like. The call I posted was with World Fantasy Award winning author of “On Stranger Tides” (basis for the Disney movie of the same name) Tim Powers.”
Advice about writing from the greatest writers out there.
* Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin. This man knows fantasy. http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/11/ten-tips-on-writing-a-fantasy-saga-from-game-of-thrones-author-george-r-r-martin/
* Nora Roberts…I love this woman’s writing, so I had to include her here. http://www.examiner.com/article/nora-roberts-on-writing-well
* Stephen King. Love him or hate him, he’s incredibly successful. This might be why. http://www.policymic.com/articles/64509/7-invaluable-writing-tips-from-stephen-king
* Alastair Reynolds. I was just given a tip about him. Here are his writing tips: http://www.sfx.co.uk/2007/04/16/alastair_reynolds_writing_tips/
* Mary Doria Russell. I was just told about her too! Here’s her advice for aspiring authors. http://www.marydoriarussell.net/about/advice-for-aspiring-authors/
* Hugh Howey. I was just told about him as well. Here’s his advice. http://www.hughhowey.com/my-advice-to-aspiring-authors/
* J.K. Rowling. Only three tips but this woman barely ever gives interviews. She’s always writing–maybe that’s a tip in itself! http://kevinkruse.com/jk-rowling-writing-tips/
* A round up of tips from great authors. Everyone from Oscar Wilde to Mark Twain. 21 tips from those who know how to write a classic. http://thoughtcatalog.com/cody-delistraty/2013/09/21-harsh-but-eye-opening-writing-tips-from-great-authors/
A big thanks to Infinitefreetime for this tip! It’s not only a great site but it has so many ideas in the comments section. Check it out!
I’ve been told I write good dialogue. This might have gone to my head. I think I need a bit of humble pie, which I’m sure Karma will provide any day now in the form of a scathing review.
Still, I follow some rules for writing dialogue.
The first thing I did is tape a conversation and read it. I thought it’d be realistic and awesome…The reality was a bit of a shock. Real-Life conversations are awful. We repeat ourselves, we go in circles, we go off topic…it makes for frustrating and very boring reading.
What works for me is to try and keep the ‘flavour’ of the character who’s talking. Joe doesn’t say: hello. He says: Hey, chickie, what’s shaking? It also helps me to add humour. I’ll give a snobbish character a coughing fit while they’re trying to maintain their dignity or I’ll create a character who loves to be heard and then deny them that wish.
But, here is what works for the Greats:
Starting tomorrow, I’m putting up three posts with resources in a row. One is a great site full of resources (I mean FULL). The second one is on how to be happy writing. The third on how to write good dialogue and the fourth is on the best writing advice I ever got. Oh, did I say three? I meant four.
I’ve got them all set up, ready to go. I had an extra cup of coffee this morning and I felt that eager blogger feeling–either that or I’m really trying to avoid editing.
One more note. To make it easier for you to see and choose what you want in resources, I’ve created a little widget on the side bar: Resources for Writers. Now you can just go and click on your topic of interest and get the links. No fuss. The Resources page is still there, also available for you to use.
My best ideas often come at night. Right when I should be dozing off, ready for dream-land, I close my eyes…and finally see how my heroine is going to face her fears or I finally know where the climax of my book will be or I finally get what drives my villain.
I’ve tried ignoring them thinking I’ll remember them in the morning. Nope. The paths connecting the issue with the solution, so clear as I dozed off, were impossible to remember in the clarity of the morning. No amount of coffee could resuscitate my memory either.
I’ve ignored them thinking they weren’t that important or good…only to curse for days while my waking mind tried to recreate them. It took me weeks to finally remember.
As I write this I’m reminded of the story of Scheherazade and the muses who whispered stories for her to entertain the sultan but did so only at night. While I’m no Scheherazade, able to magically capture the attention of my audience until daylight, I certainly don’t want to snub my nose at inspiration. I do get ideas in the daytime–certainly I get them at the most inconvenient times, like while driving or while at a work meeting–but the best ones often occur to me at night.
I have no idea why enlightenment comes just as I’m about to lose consciousness. Maybe because the mind is relaxed and open to Karma? Who knows and really, who cares. It’s like the inside of my laptop, I have no idea how it works, I’m just glad it does.
Still, years and years of this happening and I never once thought to put a notebook by my bedside. Not once. I have one now thanks to my husband who, hearing me moaning about a lost idea, put one there. I remember I thanked him while secretly convinced I wasn’t going to need it…
Until that night.