I’m not the worlds greatest writer (I’d hopefully be published if I was), but I think sharing is an underrated part of the overall process. I don’t simply mean opening up and letting people read what you’ve written. I’m also talking about giving advice and useful tips. Obviously the best and most important of which is to just keep writing no matter what. Today I want to pass along three things that I find/have found useful and if even one person finds them helpful then that’s good enough for me.
- Research: I’ve touched on research before after the recent election, however in the context of writing I think it’s not talked about enough. Often times when we read a book or watch a TV show/movie what we see is not only the result of a lot of brainstorming sessions and collaborations, but of intense reading of other materials. Having personal experience on a subject is definitely a plus, it’s just that it’s impossible to know everything. While some Polynesian people are still upset with it, Disney’s newest film Moana is a hit with many other Oceanic folk because of all the resources Disney utilized to make the characters and the setting feel authentic, including the cast itself which is composed of primarily Polynesian people. In a book series I read, The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer one of the main characters, Cinder, is a mechanic and Meyer’s mentions at the end of the book how she got help from her husband and brother, one of whom had experience fixing up a car since he was a teen. When in doubt look it up!
- Always Be Ready: Phones these days have so many different features on them now that I find to be useless, nevertheless the app I can’t live with out is Notes. With the exception of the shower, so long as I have my phone with me I have a place to jot down those ideas that pop into my head when I’m not near a computer or I have no pen and paper. Even though spell check can cause a lot of headaches in the case of these quick brainstorms it can be really helpful particularly since my handwriting is quite trashy. Text is also much easier to decipher. If you don’t have Notes or whatever the equivalent is on your phone, there are plenty of free apps you can find that do the same thing. If all else fails there’s nothing wrong with keeping a small notepad and pen in you purse, pocket, or back pack and doing things the old fashioned way.
- K.I.S.S: This advice applies to pretty much any artistic field, but whether you use ‘Keep It Simple Sweetie’ or ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’, the idea remains the same. It’s very easy to get swept away by the thesaurus or think you need to use every other word but ‘said’ after a line of dialogue, but at the end of the day I have just a much difficulties reading a book filled with over flowery language as I do reading something clearly dumbed down for the masses. It’s okay (and I even encourage you) to give readers some credit. I’ve always felt that kids are smarter than we allow them to be and it’s very frustrating to see media out there for future generations that treats them like they are incapable of learning/understanding new concepts. On that note, however many people, myself and my sister included end up getting fooled into thinking complicated is deeper somehow, and deeper in that sense is better. At the end of the day, most stories are based on very simple, easily broken down concepts. Many books and movies, romantic or not, can be pulled apart to be ‘boy meets girl’. If after all your character development and word building you yourself can’t easily explain the theme or the concept then it’s time to do some re-working. Also the bigger the word does not mean you’ve got a bigger brain.
All of the above advice is fairly standard, but even so it doesn’t hurt to revisit the basics, no matter how far you’ve come. If you don’t do any research it’ll be fairly obvious not just to experts but also novices if you don’t sound like you know what you’re talking about. Idea’s are very rarely well timed so having a place to put your thoughts down will always be helpful when you actually have free time to write everything out, and cutting and simplifying does not mean you’ve given up, it can be a sign that you’ve got discipline. Now start writing and good luck!