Monday, March 8, 2010

Simple Fixes

-First lines should create and hold tension.

-Find the point at which YOU become interested in what you have written, and chop off everything that goes before that.

-Axe "There are," "We were," "It has been," and other "to be" verb phrases. Usually the sentence holds another verb which can be activated. For example, "There is Mother's fur coat hanging in the closet," becomes "Mother's fur coat hangs in the closet."

-"A bad title is like a dunce-cap on a poem" - poet Adrian Matejka said it and I repeat it -- and it's true for prose pieces also.

-The final line had better be right, and if it takes three years to get it right, it takes three years.

-Fiction writers, for some reason you will always be advised to cut the last few sentences of your ending ("End it sooner"). Ignore this advice.

-If a work has a troublesome part, have other writers look at and comment on it.

-About 50 percent of the praise you get is mere politeness, so correct for that.

-If there's one line or paragraph that you cannot get right, try deleting it. Usually the work will be fine without it, perhaps even healthier.

1 comment:

  1. This is the best thing on writing I've read anywhere, in ages.