Monday, May 5, 2014

Fun Rules for Writers

Writing is an odyssey.    
For some it is a pleasurable wandering.
For others it is an arduous and deliberate trek.  
The writing process often develops into a longer, more serious quest than intended, but the end results can be highly rewarding.
In any case, it helps to seek out ways to improve performance and in the process lighten the pressures and anxieties commonly associated with the conditions of writing.  And if a little cheerful relief comes from establishing a few fun and clever guidelines for the trade, then all the more reason to smile and read on....

I believe those addicted to the pen can relate to my following rules for writing:  

#1 - Don't listen to anyone but the voices in your head.  
       They know how the story is supposed to go.

#2 - If a word you need doesn't exist, make it up.  Readers will intuit what it means; most won't realize it's not a real word.  
       Some examples I've personally penned: 
       chameleonesque, selfishism, hobbitish, stompled, unwakeable, unicorned.

#3 - Following two-thousand literary agents on Twitter will result in none of them following you.

#4 - A few very terrible words that writers should never really use to live a suddenly awesome happily ever after.
  • very
  • really
  • suddenly
  • that
  • awesome
  • amazing
  • terrible
  • deadline
  • sequel
  • once upon a time
  • happily ever after
  • a dark and stormy night
  • as soon as I finish this
  • plagiarized

#5 - Accept that you are mental.  There is evidence that this is true.
  • You chose to be a writer of your own free will.
  • You make up bizarre worlds inhabited by extraordinary creatures who face unrealistic odds and challenges daily (if not hourly) the whole while engaged in clever character banter.  
  • The before-mentioned worlds live and breathe in your head, abusing an excessive amount of plot twists.......even when you're not writing. 
  • People constantly look at you funny, wondering how your brain works.

#6 - Memorize these responses.  Recite them as needed.
  • I thought deadlines were fictionallike a death curse conjured up by the god of the underworld.
  • It's a story.  It's not real.  (Make sure to cross your fingers when you say this.)
  • I would love to donate a piece for free, but then the characters in my head might start screaming that I'm neglecting them, and I can't afford medication for the migraines.
  • No, I am not just staring at a blank screen.  It's called exercising your mental muscle before the marathon. 
  • The almighty agent forced me *at sword point* to edit that part.
  • You wouldn't understand; you're not a writer.

#7 - Never comment on negative reviews (without first logging out and then logging in under your super secret identity.)

#8 - Always jot down inspiration the moment you have it.  This is a must!  Like a bolt of lightning, a muse moment will flash brilliant and then be gone.....for~ev~er.
Here are common articles you can write with when normal note-taking devices are unavailable:  
  • crayons, paint, coal, ashes, condiments in squirt bottles, dark juice or jello (and a paint brush), melted chocolate, frosting, blood
Here are articles that can be used as parchment in a pinch:
  • napkins, toilet paper, newspapers, business cards, menus, a child's coloring book (she doesn't need it as much as you), candy wrappers, tortillas, bread slices, an arm, a hand, a leg, a sleeve, eyeglass lenses, book jackets, the back of your date's shirt.

#9 - Publishers, editors, agents, filmmakers, readers, and other writers are not your best friends.  Your best friends live in your head.  Everyone else is out to get you.

#10 - Write about what you knowotherwise look it up on the internet.

#11 - Construct personality-trait outlines for every character in your book.  Include descriptions of  style and appearance, mannerisms, frequently uttered expressions, and individual tics or quirks.  Ask friends and family members to behave like these characters for the purpose of establishing realism.  Call it research.

#12 - If everyone but you esteems your written work as excellent, it is not a success.  If no one but you esteems your written work as excellent, it is not a success.  If characters from your book ask you to read the finished work over and over again, applauding after each reading, consider it a success.  

#13 - Every rule for writing adhered to by outstanding authors has a completely opposite rule supported by equally outstanding authors.  (To deal with this, refer to rule #1.)

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