R.V. Doon

Little Help From My Friends

My friend, Ben, gave the PP’s a 22 Rules for Writers poster as a Christmas gift. He saw it mentioned on Tweeter and realized we needed some light-hearted rules to bolster our morale for 2013.  You can count on your friends to point out the obvious because your family won’t set you straight. The Page Pounders needed to increase their writing output, and Ben gave us a kick in the…head.

I meet people who want to write one book about their family, their city, or an unsolved crime. The problem is they have a full-time job or they’ve been fired from one and are deep into the job search. There is so much advice out there now, it can be overwhelming. I say start writing your story and do it by scenes. This allows you to start the story in the most interesting part, and then you can move later scenes around to help the story flow. I just spent hours, no days, moving 47 chapters around to suit my story vision.

The key to writing is to begin. 

Yes, it’s just that simple. Most people can’t begin the story they want to write. Once time and effort have been invested, people like to finish what they’ve started. I watched a show last week featuring Alabama craftsmen. They made pottery, fiddles, and quilts the way they were taught by long-dead relatives. The potter remarked, “I’m asked what college I attended and I tell them no college, I learned from my dad and practiced.”

Begin your story and keep going. If putting pen to paper suits you, do it. Be comfortable. Practice hones skills whether your self-taught or class-taught. Once you’ve written your story, then you should get input from readers. I’m in the group that believes you shouldn’t ask for critical inputs from readers or other writers until the story is complete. It seems odd, I know. But too many critics kills beginners’ enthusiasm, and that’s why so many books stall at the beginning or midway. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be willing to make changes, you should, but by the end of book you’ll have an intact story vision. Plus, you finished it! This is my opinion, I’m sure there are people who get inspired by critics and resolve to prove them wrong. Not me.

The best advice is to know yourself. Know what sabotages your creativity, your writing time, and avoid it. When you need a jump-start,  a defibrillator on your wandering mind, look to your friends for the creative wallop. Begin.

Writing the first line is the beginning of many other things you’ll have to learn. But if you’re tough enough and carve out a writing schedule to adhere to, you’ll finish your story. By then you’ll be eager to work on making it better.

Oh, rule number 11 from the poster inspired this post. #11-Putting it(your story) on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone. 

I hope to have my second book up for sale by the end of the month. It’s not the next in the Text-A-Nurse- mystery line, I’m still writing it. The new one is a dark fantasy. More later.

What holds you back from writing the first line in your story?

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