Thanks to all those who sent exercises relating to (1). I've replied/commented individually but decided against publishing. Why? Because the good ones are good enough to be incorporated into novels, non-fiction or short stories. And that's where I hope they'll find a home.
It’s heartening for the emerging writer to know that writing isn’t misted in a blur of mystery. While certain people are enormously creative and appear to have inherent instincts, the majority of writers use their interest to acquire the various necessary skills, and of course a certain amount of talent always helps.There are thousands of books written about writing, including my Writing for Success, geared towards succeeding on the Irish market. Some books are good; most are helpful, but bestselling American thriller writer Stephen King's On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft is superb.Beg, borrow, buy or, if you have to, steal a copy. It’s a bible. ‘Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex and work. Especially work,’ he advises.
Like any other occupation, there are basic requirements for a career in writing, many of which are aided by an attitudinal approach that is consolidated by practice. While not making us perfect writers – perfection doesn’t exist in writing, practice does take us along the road towards perfection.
If you plan to become a writer it helps if you have:
- The mind of a detective – inquiring, keen, observant and thorough
- A nose for a story
- A smattering of psychology
- A feeling and empathy with and for people
- A skill for storytelling which need be nothing more than basic
More Tips next week...
- Last but most important: the strength of character to keep on writing, one word after another, sentence after sentence and paragraph after paragraph, particularly on those days when your story ‘bellies’ and what you’re written seems crass.