What I’ve Learned About How To Write

"Writing", 22 November 2008

“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

What would I give to have listened to my English teachers. Since I’m not in the position to return to school. I’ll do the next best thing. Give a list of the things I wish I’d paid more attention to.

Along the road to writing a book I’ve discovered my grammar was poor, my spelling was good, and my punctuation ranked up with my grammar.

The more I wrote, I’ve written one book numerous short stories and I’m near completion on another book, the more I learned.

The things I’ve learned along the way have taught me what I wish I would have known and/or the things I wish I wouldn’t have paid more attention to in school.

There are things that make a story work. You must have a main character that is someone who reader can relate to, and you must give them a reason to cheer for that character. If you don’t have either of those the reader will lose interest.

Make the antagonist, the person or thing the main character is fighting against, bad but not too much, otherwise the reader will stare at the book and just want them dead. Make the character believable. A good story always has a good bad guy/girl/thing.

The setting for the story doesn’t have to be believable, but it must be written as though it were. Science Fiction is the best way to learn this.

Dark stories need the right setting, just making them in a dark place doesn’t work. You must make the setting work.

Playing the creator – this is what all writers do. We are the creators of worlds. We make the unbelievable, believable. You must make your characters believable, your settings believable and the world you set them in believable.

The best way to do any of these, is read. You will learn more from reading a book than from a book on how to write a book. It took me a while to understand that, but I wish I would have bought more fiction instead of books on how to write a book.

When you read, look at the way your favorite author writes. What do they do that stands out, is it there atmosphere, their characters or something else? If you can find what is the best thing you do you can work on the other things.

I create worlds and characters well. My dialogue is getting better, but it’s still not where I want it to be. My description is getting better, but it’s nothing like Chekhov, and I don’t think it ever will be, but I have to try.

What do you do best concerning your writing? Answer in the comments.

p.s. In one the blog will be moving to www.brianbbaker.com. The Bleeding Ink Well will no longer be published on this site. Please follow the link to subscribe.

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