Hello everyone, I do hope all have had a great writing experience since my last blog. Today I am going to give you advice by Monte Schultz who taught at the Santa Barbara Writing Conference a few years ago. So here goes:
1. Use the English Language? Earnest Hemmingway’s relative minimalism is not the last word on style. Some writers may preach that less is more, but that’s simply personal preference. Elmore Leonard is not a better writer or stylist than James Lee Burke, nor is Hemingway better than Faulkner. There just different.
2. If you’re writing literary fiction, make something happen. Interior conflict only goes so far in carrying a story forward. On the other hand, genre writers ought to avoid characters that behave like robots. Plot-driven fiction does not preclude interior reflection or character development.
3. Avoid characters who converse in a white space with nothing but their voices on the page. Setting matters. Don’t go overboard, but let your reader see where your characters are interacting.
4. Find first readers who care about your work and understand what you’re trying to accomplish. Fewer readers are better than many. If possible, have people read for different reasons. For instance, I’ve always tried to find readers specifically interested in story, style, grammar or pacing. Workshops can be helpful if you trust the readers, but beware of “art by committee.” The blizzard of comments and suggestions can be confusing and counterproductive, so trust in your own opinion best of all.
5. make writing your life, not just a passing fancy. Don’t imagine that publishing a novel will make you rich and famous. Maybe it will, but probably it won’t. Don’t see writing as a career change. Don’t give yourself six months, a year or two years to make it as a writer. Think instead that once you put words on a page, you are a writer, and this is something that will fascinate, frustrate and fulfill you for the rest of your life.