More advice for writers from Other People

I seem to be spending more time cruising the web for thoughts on how to write than actually writing anything.  This may be dangerous and/or counter-productive, but it’s kind of fun.

100daysartI found an article by John Coyne called How to Write a Novel in 100 Days or Less and figured, “Hey, piece of cake — I can already write three times faster than that!”
There is advice for all 100 days, but I’ve only read about a week’s worth so far. Here’s some useful editing advice from Day 45:
Anton Chekhov’s remarkably simple advice was this: “If a gun hangs on the wall in the first act of the play, it must be discharged before the end.” You have to “look” at the total work with that piece of advice in mind and cut out anything that doesn’t help the story complete itself.

And this from the Introduction is pushing me back into the writing fray:

Sinclair Lewis was invited to talk to some students about the writer’s craft. He stood at the head of the class and asked, “How many of you here are really serious about being writers?” A sea of hands shot up. Lewis then asked, “Well, why aren’t you all home writing?” And with that he walked out of the room.


  1. dayner

    Funny thing. When ever I start reading a book about writing I always put it down after a couple of chapters to start applying my new knowledge right away. Most often I never finish the book. 🙂
    It’s pretty irritating. The same is true for on-line classes, it’s hard to finish cause I just want to get back to writing.
    I have this fear that I’ll forget everything I learned by the time I finish and I get so excited I want to try out the new techniques now.

  2. Darksculptures

    Ditto! Just last week I posted a tag to Yahoo that said I was going to spend less time blogging and more time writing. Of course first I had to organize my filing cabinet and file all of the articles I printed down for future reference. Which in doing so caused me to come up with a few more questions, that required more research, which inspired a post for my blog, and the whole cycle came full circle. Dang my discursive thinking.

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    On the other hand, think about the overall value of these blogs for keeping us in the game. There have been lots of times when I could easily have done something else besides write a blog post.

    And yet: I always get SO MUCH out of it, usually in the form of comments and in looking at other blog posts.

  4. Shaddy

    I can’t bring myself to do very much with my novel other than posting a few chapters after tidying them up a bit.

    Writing was the easy part. Trying to justify what I wrote is totally WORK. Sheesh!

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    Dayner: Did you take a class thru StoryWonk? I read a description of one of the classes and making a soundtrack was mentioned, and I thought of yours. It seemed like an interesting idea.

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    Shaddy — Well, you certainly don’t have to justify WHAT you wrote to any of us. I thought your chapter one was cool and very imaginative.

    And even if I thought it sucked, so what? I think the process and the very fact that we produced ANYTHING is pretty amazing, especially with all this Real Life going on around us and trying to involve us in it.

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