Thursday, September 10, 2009

On Writing

When I first decided to write a novel I went to the Library and checked out Stephen King's On Writing. I got so much out of it! I took in his rants about the overuse of of adverbs and non-said dialogue tags. I got a sense for how competitive the world of publishing is (and resigned myself to write for fun and not try to get published). And I realized that the only way to get better at writing is to write. I read the whole book before I ever put a word on the page and I'm sure his advice helped my future bad writing to be a little less bad.

After I finished reading On Writing, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Then I read what I wrote six months before... and cringed. But at least I could see that my writing was getting better.

I don't have a writing process. I just write and revise over and over again until I feel pretty good about what I've written. I am am not an expert on grammar, punctuation, or non-was verb usage, but I have beta readers who are (thanks girls :). I am, without a doubt, not a brilliant writer. But I can write a good story, and I can do it with a convincing voice and I think that's the most important thing.

So how did you learn to write? (Really, I want to know. I could use some pointers :)


MeganRebekah said...

I think my foundation in writing definitely came from my regular classes in school. I can remember my 3rd grade teacher (Mrs McLean) telling me to be more creative. She said that I shouldn't say the "a bird flew in the sky" that I should push myself and come up with something better like "a terradactyl flew across the sky".
That was my first lesson in word choice and it stuck with me. And then in high school I learned about the important of paragraphs, and their structure, and how to get a point across approopriately.

Put all my old lessons together, swirl them around, add in heaps of current help from blogs and there you go - I can write. Sort of.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

A few creative writing classes in high school may have helped, but I learned more from writing my first novel than I did throughout all my years of schooling combined.

Plus now that I actually care about my writing, I study, research, and take my awesome beta reader suggestions very seriously.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I got a solid foundation for sentence structure, spelling, etc. in school, but I think I learned how stories flow by reading a lot, which I have my whole life. And, I must say, that informative and inspiring blogs by other writers have added much more to what I now understand about novel writing.

Patti said...

I think I'm exactly like you. I'm not the best at grammar and punctuation, but I think that my stories are good.

I read advice, wrote a story, got other authors to read it, revised, got more people to read it and revised again. Hopefully one day I'll be done.

Lazy Writer said...

I just started writing, and the words came naturally. I didn't even have to think about it. Of course, after reading up on the craft, I realized much of what I had written neede fixing, so I went back and revised the heck out of it. In fact, I'm still doing that now. I also read On Writing. That is a very helpful resource.

Terri Tiffany said...

I wrote most my life in journals etc. And then one day decided I wanted to write a book--and did--without ever reading a book on how to--just read alot period. There is so much I still try to learn--especially with fiction as I prefer nonfiction. I joined Faithwriters a few years back and the writers there helped alot as I did the weekly challenges.

Tabitha Bird said...

I am doing a creative writing course, but like you I just write....and write and write and write, and then I read and read and read... :)

jayna said...

What a fun blog to read and hear wonderful ideas and techniques and such.

Now if only it had some guys...some Italian guys...and by that, I mean BLOG STYLE. Let's trick this puppy out Nat! Email or call me!

p.s. I love to write, but as I am a real-life-story-teller, I blog. That's my outlet (as if you didn't know)! I love to record in creative ways. Always have. I love to see the big picture of the journey, poured over a year later, and realize the growth that occurred without ever noticing.


Vonna said...

Four years ago I attended a writer's conference where I was able to have a ten-minute pitch session with Laura Rennert of the Andrea Brown agency. I learned more from her in that ten minutes than from all the writing courses and books on writing I have ever taken or read.