|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
FLIP SIDE OF THE COIN
You Can't Get Heads Without Tails.
There are any number of times I'll mention writing something every day. This isn't an original idea but one that was taught to me and is the soul of good authorship. You can't sit down every other Sunday when the moon is in the right phase for an hour and expect to turn out anything worthwhile. It'll take you that long to mix your favorite beverage, find the most inspiring view, get up to close the blinds because the view's too distracting, sharpen a half dozen pencils, sharpen them again and, finally, jot down the rough draft of an idea for the first paragraph you might use in something. REAL writing is REAL discipline. It requires commitment, concentration, and dogged determination!
It also requires fuel. If you think you're going to recreate the genre you've chosen by working from a vacuum you are SO mistaken. Well, if you're supposed to write, write, write how do you fuel all this artistic fervor? You read, read, read! As Stephen King said, "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others; read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut."
Whatever your chosen genre or style, you need to read the best examples that you can find. You need to read classic works and the most talented writers of today. (Notice I didn't say the most popular.There are enough best selling hacks out there, guys. Do yourself a favor and be a little discriminating.)
Read as a writer! Don't let yourself mindlessly cruise through a work. Concentrate on what you're seeing. How does the dialogue work? How is the mood set? What is it about a character that makes you root, boo, or just not care? I know it seems that it will take the fun out of the endeavor but DAMN IT ALL where else will you learn these things? Sure, there are a few decent 'how to's' around. If you're lucky, your local community or four-year college hasn't dropped its creative writing course because of budgetary constraints. Nothing, though, will replace the example set by someone recognized for their ability.
So that leaves us with one other piece of advice from the illustrious master of fear. "BLOW UP THE TV!" (Unless your heart's set on being a screen writer. I guess, he sighed.)
As always...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis. Author.