Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Writing's a Battlefield

I listen to a surprising amount of Pat Benatar when I write. Pat, Aimee Mann, Dave Matthews, and The Kooks. Those are my go-to bands for writing. I'm not sure why. Probably because I've been listening to them so long that they sort of become white noise and let me focus.

Right. Wednesday. Writing Tips. Let me first say that I've written more stuff that's NOT publishable than is, so feel free to say, "What a tool!" and move on. I won't be offended. I might cry, but don't let that stop you. No really. Go ahead and go.

I've never been a fan of Stephen King. I'm just not a horror fan. I read "Salem's Lot" for a class in college and enjoyed it immensely, but I never cozied up to his whole collection like my brother did. I was too busy reading fantasy novels. Anyway. Even though I wasn't a fan of King's fiction, I found his book "On Writing," and picked it up. This was back when I was working on my second real attempt at a novel. It was slow going and I was having MAJOR doubts. Stephen King's book is pretty much the reason I'm published today.

The biggest thing I took from it was to always be honest. Be honest to your readers. Be honest to yourself. Never shy away from anything. If your character would say it or do it, then write it. Never censor yourself.

That's my first writing tip. Be Honest.

Why? Because if you're not, your readers will know. Especially in YA. If you're writing about a teenager FOR a teenager, not only are they going to know when you're being inauthentic, but they're going to call you out on it in a very big way.

And I'm not just talking about being honest about the topics you write. It doesn't mean you have to tackle Sex, Drugs, and Emo. I'm talking about honesty in every aspect. I'm talking about opening yourself up. I'm talking about getting out the fountain pen, tapping a vein, and getting some blood on the page.
If your writing isn't tapping your own emotions, then it's not real.

When I wrote The Deathday Letter, I tapped all my awkwardness from high school. All the times I was in school and I heard people talking about me. All my embarrassing moments. I didn't write them in, nothing in my book has ever happened to me, but I tapped the emotions. All the emotions in the book are real because I was honest about how I felt and how my characters would feel.

Right. So there it is. Be honest. Just trust me on this one.

Have an awesome day!

1 comment:

  1. King's is a great writing book -- I rec it to everyone. And I have waking nightmares about a kid reader pointing out something inauthentic in my book. Eep! Good motivation to practice honesty.


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