25 Years Of Writing Says: Don’t Write Short Stories

23 05 2017

Hieronymus_Bosch_096

As noted before, I’ve been sending stories out since 1989. Am I a famous author? I am not. But I have been professionally published, and for the indulgence of other rewarding interests, I may have been farther along in my writing career.

What I have learned about writing and its profession:

If you are going to write, write novellas or novels. I have always had very good ideas. My interest in getting into short story markets made me edit these ideas down to the market optimum 4000 words. Editors would respond “Needs more”. I would move on to the next idea which I would cut down, etc. I thought ideas were putty that could be massaged into any length. An idea is a block of marble. Cut one wrong and the whole statue is ruined.

If you are going to write short stories, get paid for them. Thankfully, I always had this rule. Getting upvotes in your writing community feels good. Sooner or later you will want more. Cut out the middleman and go straight to market.

If you aren’t getting paid for your story, self-publish. This wasn’t available to me earlier of course, but it is something I will pursue.

Network. Life is all about “who you know.” It’s uncomfortable. The good news is everyone’s uncomfortable too.

Save originality for later. I went straight for “sensational”, “innovative”, and “original”. What I didn’t learn was “structure”, “character development”, and “simplicity”. One idea per plot. Write your slash. File off those serial numbers. Study your authors and write pastiches. That said…

Invent your own magic system. Play in someone else’s sandbox, they get the right to pick nits.

Be nice. Any professional community is like High School. One tweet can set back years of work. Small communities thrive on making outcasts. Be nice.

I used to think “write what makes your mother uncomfortable” and the audience will find you. Instead, your priority is “write what you love and look for your audience.”

Ignore other writers. You can become distracted, frustrated, and despair. If you can’t ignore another writer’s work, that’s one of the few writer you should study.

Classes, conventions, retreats, and Clarion-Odyssey-Taos Toolbox-that thing Tom Monteleone does…do them. I have wasted tens of thousands of dollars sitting in coffee shops. The writers who have gone to bigger things sacrificed to do these activities to learn and network. That said…

The Most Important Advice:

Accept that any of your ideas may suck. No amount of rewriting or networking will help an idea that sucks. Move on to the next idea. I wasted about four years rewriting a bunch of half-baked, “sensational” ideas. They sucked. I should have moved on. Now if a story doesn’t get published in the first few submissions, I trunk it and move on.





A Flight of Fantasy

10 05 2017

Source: A Flight of Fantasy





5 Things “The Hellbound Heart” Taught Me About Writing

28 04 2017

Richard Klu

For those of you who may not know the movie “Hellraiser” and the franchise it spawned was based on the novella “The Hellbound Heart” by Clive Barker. When I first read “The Hellbound Heart” it was because I had seen that Hellraiser was based on a novella and I thought to myself (having not overly enjoyed the movie) that the novella had to be weird or at the very least something drastically different than I was used to. So I listened to a few reviews of it and decided that even though years before when I’d watched “Hellraiser” I didn’t like it I should read “The Hellbound Heart”.

I was shocked. The book starts with a truly horrific scene that I thought was just gratuitous when I’d first seen “Hellraiser” but in the light of the book with the intensity of the writing I really enjoyed it and overall I…

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Horror Movies for Easter

15 04 2017

Yes, a lovely spring afternoon, the eve of Easter, and one’s thoughts turn naturally to gentle bunnies. Candy, jelly beans, chocolate eggs. But not all that gentle according to Phil Brown on CGMAGONLINE.COM! Yes, from Jan Svankmajer’s ALICE to DONNY DARKO bunnies have their own dark side as well, and let us not forget WATERSHIP […]

via Bunnies Unite, Ten Top Horror Films for Easter Enjoyment — jamesdorrwriter





Writers: THIS IS REALLY GOOD! The Motivation-Reaction Unit

7 04 2017

Source: Motivation-Reaction Unit





If your revised manuscript still has the same events in the same order, then what was the point?

6 03 2017

The War on Loneliness

Custom-Jigsaw-Puzzle.jpgOkay, I think line-editing is great. Lines should be as information-dense, melodic, and insightful as possible, and you can’t get there without a lot of work. However, I don’t think a line edit is rarely the difference between selling and not selling, or pleasing and not pleasing your writer.

Too often I see people get a bunch of comments back on their manuscript, whether from editors or agents or other readers, and all they do in their revision is they shift the words around a little bit. For instance maybe the editor says, “I didn’t know why the character was doing this thing?” so the writer puts in a line where they explain why they’re doing that thing. Or people were like “Huh, this motivation felt weak” so they put in a few lines where the character is like, “I did this thing because I am angry, and I am…

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Writers: How Far Can You Fall And Live?

18 02 2017

http://mentalfloss.com/article/63088/how-far-can-you-fall-and-still-survive








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