I returned from my third Novel in Nine Months course late last night and felt pretty damn good. Hearing people who know a thing or two tell you you’re on the right track and doing well makes me feel a little more confident in my writing and makes me want to write more. I got 2,300 words out before class last night, and plan to get more written tonight if I have my druthers.
As we went through critique last night, I realized that I’ve developed rituals and rules for craft already. They came to me as we went through the lessons and I soon learned that some others in the class, and instructors as well, had habits similar. It got me to thinking I ought write a few down.
Who knows, maybe some of these are bad habits – I don’t know since I’m not published yet, but here’s some of my observations on doing what I do:
– Don’t write at home. Find someplace else to write that has as few distractions as possible.
– Drama is rarely fueled by characters who make good decisions. Let them dig their own graves.
– The point where I gut punch the reader is where my paragraphs end.
– It sounds like common sense, but when it comes to dialog, write the way you talk. (It felt so good to hear the instructors say this last night. This was the exact way I explained writing dialog to my Dad many, many years ago before I got into any writing groups).
– Nobody’s perfect. Nobody. Perfect characters are boring. Knock them down a peg frequently and load them with shortcomings.
– When the story presents itself get out of its damn way. Sometimes they practically write themselves and are born whole cloth. Those are the good days; savor them.