When I’m editing, I use an emotional Geiger counter to tell which parts of my story are working. It often helps. Here’s how it can go wrong.
This is not a post of writing advice, because I don’t do those. This is a post of writing observation. They’re different. Trust me.
I read books first and foremost for the emotions they evoke: wonder, awe, hope, joy, dismay, despair, and all the other good ones.
Similarly, I write with the intention of evoking such emotions in the reader. The hard question is how do I know when I’ve succeeded.
Writers with a lot of craft knowledge and experience probably just know. I expect they don’t need to read their draft to know how the reader will react emotionally at each point.
Me? I’m not quite there yet.
Continue reading “How emotions can help with your editing or lead you astray”
I read ten self-help books and took away various insights, some of which are helpful. I summarise the helpful ones and the others here.
At their best, self-helps books are amazing because they literally teach you how to help yourself, and inspire you to do so. Want to become a millionaire by sitting on your couch playing video games? There will be a self-help book for that.
However, some self-help books would have been better if they’d remained blog posts, and some should never have been written at all.
I forget most of what I read in most self-help books, maybe because it isn’t relevant to me, or maybe because I’m too busy trying to put Princess on a diet without starving Runs from Jeans.
A year later I might remember one main point, and I’m fine with that. It was probably the most important point.
Today I’m going to share some of these main points.
Continue reading “Ten self-help books I read so you don’t have to”
I tweeted recently about something an author had done that made me feel cheated. My tweet went viral and the author’s behaviour received near-universal condemnation. So if you don’t want to infuriate your readers, don’t do what he did.
A few days ago I finished the book I was reading and trawled through my kindle for something new to read. I happen to have *cough cough* pages of books I’ve bought or downloaded free and haven’t quite got around to reading, so I knew I’d find something.
Sure enough, I came across a book I didn’t recall buying. The cover was attractive enough as a black-and-white thumbnail, and the first half sentence of blurb that my kindle displays was intriguing.
A post-apocalyptic world. Zombies. Yep, that sounded like some good light entertainment.
I began to read.
Continue reading “Authors, whatever you do, don’t do this”
I joined Mastodon as a writer looking to hang out with other writers and to have somewhere to share my blog posts. This was my experience.
Before you take any advice I have to give, you should know two things.
First, this is not advice.
Second, I’m very non-technical and don’t know anything.
Third, this is all just based on my experience.
Fourth, I can’t count.
Continue reading “Should you join Mastodon?”
Here’s the best advice out there on how to write your first novel. I know because I wrote it. You should still ignore it.
Eighty-three percent of people want to write a novel.*
* Like 97 percent of statistics, this number is made up.
But perhaps you do want to write a novel. You’ve always loved to tell stories, and fantastic lands and tortured characters clamour in your head. You must set them free in the world for the good of all mankind.
Being the intelligent person you are, you do some research on how to write a novel and are promptly overwhelmed.
Amazon gives over 2000 results for “how to write a novel”, Google gives nearly 800 million. It’s probably not feasible to read all those before dinnertime.
But fear not, because I have the only advice you need to write the masterpiece that’s fermenting in your head and bubbling out your ears.
Continue reading “The only advice you need to write your first novel”