11 November, 2010

Laelaps on Writing

Brian Switek, whose writing I've been desperately in love with for several years now, has one of the wisest posts up on writing I've ever read.  I don't know why you lot listen to me when you could be listening to him instead.

A taste:
Given my start on an alternate track, I don’t think about book writing in terms of rules. Instead I think of the authoring process as using a variety of techniques to weave particular elements together and overcome specific obstacles. A given technique may work well in one context but not in another, and each writer has to stock their own toolbox and figure out how to appropriately use each of those tools. There are essential elements which are key to writing a good book – compelling characters, a clear understanding of the intended audience, and a strong storyline – but it is not as if a writer can follow a foolproof, step-by-step program to bring each of these aspects of a book into play. 

There is no simple formula which, when followed exactly, will produce a good book. From finding the time to work to deciding which parts of a story need to be cut, composing a book hinges upon the characteristics of the author writing it.  [my empasis]
That last bit needs to either be tacked to my wall or tattooed on my hand.  It's something you rarely see these books on how to write state so starkly, but it's absolutely true.  We need to remember it, especially when the evil Inner Editor gets to work on us and shouts we're doing it all wrong.

Hmm.  Maybe I'll just tattoo that bolded bit on my Inner Editor's forehead so I can read it whenever the barstard starts shrieking...

(Side note: the next time Brian Switek publishes a book, I'm going to beg to be part of the blog tour.  That way, I get a galley copy, and do not risk enduring once again what I'm enduring now: watching people gush over how fantastic he is, desperately wanting to read his book, and seeing that due to some unexpected glitch in the publishing process I'm going to have to wait an extra month.  Grr, argh!)

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