m.guardian.co.uk Elmore Leonard: Using adverbs is a mortal sin 1 Never open a book with weather. If it's only to create atmosphere, and not a character's reaction to the weather, you don't want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. 2 Avoid prologues: they can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. 3 Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. 4 Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said" ... he admonished gravely. 5 Keep your exclamation points under control. 6 Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose". 7 Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. 8 Avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. 9 Don't go into great detail describing places and things, unless you're Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. 10 Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Diana Athill Margaret Atwood 1 Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes.
Write or Die by Dr Wicked 201 Ways to Arouse Your Creativity Arouse your creativity Electric flesh-arrows … traversing the body. A rainbow of color strikes the eyelids. A foam of music falls over the ears. It is the gong of the orgasm. ~ Anais Nin Creativity is like sex. I know, I know. The people I speak of are writers. Below, I’ve exposed some of their secret tips, methods, and techniques. Now, lie back, relax and take pleasure in these 201 provocative ways to arouse your creativity. Great hacks from Merlin Mann of 43 Folders
60 Rules 60 Rules for Short SF (and Fantasy) A "mainstream" short story can be about anything: a mood, a character, a setting, even a flashy writing style. A genre (SF or fantasy) short story is about an idea. The fictional elements (character, plot, setting, etc) are only there to dramatize the idea. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.Too many little impediments make a story seem jiggly. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. (Thanks for your interest in my work. Synonyms for words commonly used in student's writing Amazing- incredible, unbelievable, improbable, fabulous, wonderful, fantastic, astonishing, astounding, extraordinary Anger- enrage, infuriate, arouse, nettle, exasperate, inflame, madden Angry- mad, furious, enraged, excited, wrathful, indignant, exasperated, aroused, inflamed Answer- reply, respond, retort, acknowledge Ask- question, inquire of, seek information from, put a question to, demand, request, expect, inquire, query, interrogate, examine, quiz Awful- dreadful, terrible, abominable, bad, poor, unpleasant Beautiful - pretty, lovely, handsome, attractive, gorgeous, dazzling, splendid, magnificent, comely, fair, ravishing, graceful, elegant, fine, exquisite, aesthetic, pleasing, shapely, delicate, stunning, glorious, heavenly, resplendent, radiant, glowing, blooming, sparkling Begin - start, open, launch, initiate, commence, inaugurate, originate Brave - courageous, fearless, dauntless, intrepid, plucky, daring, heroic, valorous, audacious, bold, gallant, valiant, doughty, mettlesome
10 Commandments for a Happy Writer by Nathan Bransford Writers aren't generally known as the happiest lot. As a recent Guardian survey of some top writers shows, even the best ones don't particularly enjoy it all that much. And in case you think this is a new development, an 1842 letter from Edgar Allen Poe to his publisher recently surfaced in which he was found apologizing for drinking so much and begging for money. But believe it or not, writing and happiness can, in fact, go together. For our Thursday entry in Positivity Week, here are ten ways for a writer to stay positive: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Nathan Bransford is the author of JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, a middle grade novel about three kids who blast off into space, break the universe, and have to find their way back home, which was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in May 2011.
9 (Arbitrary) Ways to Get Your Writing Rejected When novelist Helen Simonson ( Major Pettigrew's Last Stand) was asked to help winnow entries for short story contests and literary journals, it was her turn to switch from seeking approval to giving it out. Sparingly. As she puts it: Having spent many years putting hours of effort and creativity into my own work -- sending off brown envelopes filled with still-warm pages, to various editors and judges -- it is rather horrifying to discover that it takes me about a minute to know that yet another manuscript is about to be "binned" as they say. What follows is a few of Simonson's deal-killers, from her only somewhat tongue-in-cheek article "Ten ways to get your writing rejected' : Your male character is carrying around a battered and much-loved copy of a Dostoevsky, Wittgenstein or Rimbaud -- guaranteed to get you moved to the "Pretentious? And here are a few of my own additions to the "get rejected fast" list: Copyright (c) 2010 by Susan K.
JulNoWriMo - July Novel Writing Month How to Undress a Victorian Lady in Your Next Historical Romance CALLIHOO Writing Idea Generators: The 37 Dramatic Situations The Thirty-six (plus one) Dramatic Situations Georges Polti says that all stories boil down to just 36 dramatic situations and takeoffs of those situations. Somebody else out there added #37. If you're stuck for a situation, try this. (Note: In several cases, specific gender in the original descriptions has been replaced with non-specific gender. Your situation: 29. Still stuck for plot ideas? Cosmic Thoughts | Oblique Strategies | Random Science Fiction Story Ideas
The Creative Writing MFA Blog Ink - Quotes about writing by writers presented by The Fontayne Group Writing "I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark." Henry David Thoreau "Writing is an adventure." Winston Churchill "Know something, sugar? Stories only happen to people who can tell them." Allan Gurganus "... only he is an emancipated thinker who is not afraid to write foolish things." "Whether or not you write well, write bravely." "The first rule, indeed by itself virtually a sufficient condition for good style, is to have something to say."
Creative Thinking Techniques .:VirtualSalt Robert Harris Version Date: January 5, 2002 You'll remember the five creative methods we discussed in the Introduction to Creative Thinking: evolution, synthesis, revolution, reapplication, changing direction. Many classic creative thinking techniques make use of one or more of these methods. Note in this section that the goal is to produce a good quantity and a good quality of new ideas and solutions so that the best ones may be chosen. Brainstorming Alex Osborn, advertising writer of the fifties and sixties, has contributed many very powerful creative thinking techniques. Brainstorming is an idea generating technique. Basic Guidelines for Brainstorming Brainstorming is useful for attacking specific (rather than general) problems and where a collection of good, fresh, new ideas (rather than judgment or decision analysis) are needed. Brainstorming can take place either individually or in a group of two to ten, with four to seven being ideal. 1. 2. 3. 4. Practical Methodology
Intro to Screenwriting So, you're going to write a screenplay. This is awesome. And if you're a little nervous about it, that's awesome too, because it means you're not alone. After all, screenwriting isn't something that we learn in grammar school or do at dinner parties. It feels more like a mysterious dark art practiced by reclusive alchemists who only emerge from their caves for all-too-brief Academy Awards appearances. But the truth is that screenwriting is within the grasp of mere mortals. That said, we've included a few tips that might help you wrap your brain around your screenplay and make your first draft go a little more smoothly. 1) Support The Draft The entire month of April will be largely delightful if you just repeat these words each morning in front of a mirror: "This is a draft. 2) Start Reading Movies Most of us can talk tirelessly about our favorite movie scenes, plot twists, and happy endings. There's a very easy, enjoyable remedy for this: reading screenplays. No idea how do this?