I’m really tired, and don’t have a whole lot of motivation to do anything today, but I don’t want to break the chain of daily posts that I started over a month ago, so here’s some writing advice I gave on my Tumblr earlier today:
Do you have any recommendations for books on how to be a better writer and/or how to go about getting published? Or any advice in either. Thanks you’re the best!
Before you get into books, read and listen to Ira Glass talk about The Taste Gap. You’ll come back to this many times over the next few months and probably years.
- Stephen King’s ON WRITING is incredibly valuable, and each time I read it, I learn something new because I’ve grown as a writer, and unlocked new perception abilities.
- Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder, is very good, too. I don’t agree with all of it, and its primary focus is on screenwriting, but the fundamentals of pacing and working from a logline and basic story type are really useful.
- The Anatomy of Story, by John Truby, is also very insightful and helpful. I love that it uses movies you’ve already seen and know to help explain the mechanics behind building them, so you can use the same mechanics in your original work.
As far as getting published goes, don’t worry about that until you feel confident and mature as a writer. Put your effort and XP into developing your voice, your discipline and commitment to doing the work, and rewriting the first draft. Once you’ve gotten all of that into your build, you can go ahead and start looking for publishing.
I hope this helps get you started. If there was one thing that I could make you listen to and internalize, though, just one single thing that you would be compelled to do, it is this: Write every day, and keep it simple.
I say to keep it simple because we all have this tendency to complicate things, in an effort to show everyone how clever we are. There’s certainly a place for that, but when we’re learning and developing, it’s going to be complicated enough on its own. Think of it like learning to play guitar: get your scales and basic chords down before you decide to tackle Metallica’s One or Stairway to Heaven.