What I learned Today After Taking A Breather From Writing

Today I decided to take most of the day off from writing and allow my head to clear. As I did this, many things came to mind and I thought them over. First off writing isn’t for the faint of heart. Even the best-selling authors get piss poor reviews on works that end up being classics. Thus, a good writer needs to have a thick skin and not let every negative review get to them.

Second, write for the audience, not another writer. Another writer will always end up being more critical of your work than the average reader and sometimes it can do more harm than good. Same thing goes for writing on the forums and letting the amateur writer try to tell you what’s wrong with it. This definitely becomes the blind leading the blind.

Third, things are made overly complicated by many beginning writers. The trap they fall into is trying to write something that’ll be considered both a literary classic and have legendary workmanship. Instead of shooting for the stars and failing miserably, it’s sometimes better to shoot for Jupiter and write a good story and not worry about whether is the best written story. There’s plenty out there that suck ass and still sell good. Don’t get me started on that shit called Twilight.

Fourth, the mark of a mature writer, whether he or she has been published yet, is the ability to write stories and characters that are totally unlikeable. Mareth is one of them for me. There’s nothing good about her; in fact, she’s rotten to the core. But she’s still enjoyable to write. Who doesn’t like writing a bad boy or bad girl character?

I could go on for hours writing down my thoughts but I’m not going to bore you. Hopefully you can glean something from and be able to move forwards as a writer.



Novel Openings

writers-block

I cruised the various boards today and another familiar question has come back up. “How do I start my novel?”

There’s two school of thoughts about this and I’ll share them both. The first believes in the ‘wham bam’ type opening. Something BIG happens, either an explosion or car chase or something, right off the bat. This viewpoint says that the reader will instantly be hooked by the rapid-fire action. The second feels that a slower, more cerebral entrance will draw the reader in. While there’s merits in both, whether or or the other is best to use depends on what genre you’re writing.

In novel writing you have two types of openings: 1. Action  2. Active. Let me break them down.

A “action opening” is exactly what it says. Something big is happening, whether it’s a foot chase, a battle, or something that involves some sort of physical action. This, when used correctly, can draw a reader in to the story off the bat. In my opinion it’s a bit of a gimmick, but I’ll explain that later.

An ‘active opening’ is a different type of beast. There’s not overwhelming ‘action’ even happening but it’s more cerebral in how it gets the reader’s attention. A typical opening of this type presents a problem, or a situation, that makes a reader start to wonder what’s happening and will compel them to read on to see the answer.

My personal opinion is that the ‘action’ opening is overused. It’s become a gimmick, similar to those things done in Hollywood, to get the attention of a person. Any person can write a pure action scene, but what happens after that scene’s over?

Active openings take more skill from the writer to pull off but have the higher reward. When done correctly, they completely engross the reader with the world and they keep turning the pages. The trick, though, is how to pull it off. And there’s only one sure fire way to learn this skill, and that is to continually practice on it.

Here’s a blog post on the matter by a literary agent named Kristin on her blog on blogspot about this subject.

http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2012/06/writing-craft-action-vs-active-openings.html

I hope this helps out in understanding the difference.