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What about writing
You think about a million things then pick the best ones to write a story about. Sometimes it’s a fictional story, sometimes it’s something you know about and think others might want to know too. Sometimes, it’s just something you like writing about, or just your own writing ideas. In two months I wrote 34 hubs and they coverered everything I just mentioned. For example, we’ve been to Ireland, Alaska and Las Vegas…I wrote hubs about those trips. They were great vacations and I thought they would make interesting hubs.
I wrote about my animals; my cockatiel, Persian cat and Miniature Pinscher dog. I thought they made great hubs and a lot of people seemed to agree with me as they have high readership. Seems people like to read about animals, especially cats and dogs. I wrote about some of my favorite things, hummingbirds, Halloween, and Charlton Heston. I wrote about things that involved me like growing up in the fifties, going to Catholic School, having Celiac disease, my Grandfather’s Rose Garden, and adoption. Then I thought I would try to write what might be considered more pertinent stuff, like the history of Music Through the Decades and Global Warming. I tried my hand at fiction and wrote three short stories, The Face in the Mirror, Empty Beds and The PigSty. I threw in a few instructional hubs like how to use a Search Engine and MS Word 2010. You get the idea I’m sure.
I lay awake at night and think of things to write about. Sometimes I come up with what I think is a good idea but then I have to flesh it out. I was doing that one day when I was driving and went past my turn off twice. It’s not really a good idea to try to write a story in your head when you’re driving.
What is a good idea? I mean I did do a hub about writing and writing hubs, but there’s so much more to it. I think it’s something you have to feel. You can’t just write down a bunch of unrelated stuff. Even if it doesn’t mean something to anyone else, it has to mean something to you and I think that is the crux of the whole thing, that it means something to you. Maybe you’re afraid of the bad guy in the story you write, or you were frightened by someone like that when you were a kid. Maybe you have an absolute passion for eating fish and want to write a piece about the best ways to cook fish. If your start with your own passion then think about what someone would like to read about your passion you have a beginning. What about writing?
Am I a writer?
I have always wanted to be a writer. You can gauge my success by visiting any bookstore; I don't have any books there. I know writing represents our feelings and is a way to express ourselves. I started out as your average young girl. My favorite author was Edgar Allen Poe -author, poet, editor and literary critic . What young girl doesn't thrill to dreary midnights or bleak Decembers or rappings at your chamber door? Not to worry, I grew up and graduated to Stephen King. Now you can't say every woman isn't in love with Stephen King. Every young woman likes horror and suspense, right? I followed his early career reading every book he published. After Carrie I eagerly awaited his next novel and was not disappointed when Salems Lot left me afraid to sleep. I eventually went on further to read Dean Koontz. These are my two favorite writers though I believe Koontz doesn't leave you hanging like King does. Jean Auel 's Earth Children series is a great read too. I'm a SciFi fan as well having read Asimov,Heinlein and more. I could go on but the list would be my whole hub (I like to read.)
I digress. Everyone says you should write about what you know. Hmm, what I know? I know what size shoes I wear and I know the weatherman is never right. Of course writing about what you know makes the task easier. When Frank McCourt wrote "Angela's Ashes" he was writing about his own childhood. Does this mean that Stephen King is actually a vampire or Jean Auel lived in a cave? Interesting. Many writers write about things they don't know. With the Internet it's easy, just look it up. Of course you have to be careful to weed out the real truth from somebody's idea of the truth and make sure you are including lots of vald information on your subject. Writing about what you know helps put that passion in your writing.
In my English 101 class I was super excited. Here I was in a college writing course. I really wanted to impress. I wrote rough draft after rough draft. Then I graduated to draft and finally to my masterpiece. I gave it to the professor and waited impatiently to get my grade. The following week my grade was an A-, not bad I thought. Then I read his comment saying that I was overstating the obvious. His exact words were, "don't say extinguish the illumination when you can just say turn out the light." I was crestfallen. I wanted to be so professional and instead I was being a stuff shirt. Not a great start. I did get better, less criticism and more A on my next several papers. Having children put a crimp in my sails. Education and writing both ended, but the desire never left. It's just something in your blood. Good or bad, it's there and it stays with you and when that happens you know you should write.
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How to write
So what, if anything else have I learned about writing? Well, collaboration is a good thing, but who would I get to collaborate with? Not many authors where I live. A good command of the English language. Now that's easy, or is it? There's more to the English language than just talking or writing. For example, where does the apostrophe really go? Do I need it? Speaking of "it", is it it's or its? What about "who", is it whose or who's?
A set of rules about writing by Frank L. Visco was originally published in the June 1986 issue of Writer's Digest. Some of his rules include:
- Avoid alliteration always
- Avoid cliches like the plague (They're old hat.)
- Be more or less specific
- Who needs rhetorical questions?
That should've put a smile on your face. You can find writing tips everywhere. For example, everyone avoids alliteration, right? You do know what it is. It's when two or more words begin with the same sound. Why would you use alliteration anyway? As for cliches, I spend half my life jumping out of the frying pan into the fire! It's also a fact that I've been known to open my mouth just long enough to take my foot out? Why, some writer's say to avoid cliches like the plague is beyond me. I think they are interesting and can be very descriptive, I do mean established cliches. (Another writing hint, make sure your sentences are clear.) For example, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush has become very popular in TV commercials! And how many people do you know that are all talk and no action? Sometimes cliches bring your readers to more familiar territory, things they already know.
Being more or less specific is quite easy. You never really know when you are more or less specific. Well, you might know when you're being more or less specific but will your reader? It all depends on what you're talking about. As for rhetorical questions, well, aren't they useful? I mean, what's wrong with a good rhetorical question anyway? A lot of people don't want to answer questions, especially when they're reading but the rhetorical question doesn't look for an answer.
Practice. Practice is okay but what if I'm practicing the wrong way? And when they say practice, do they mean practice your writing style or practice your writing like in making sure your handwriting is neat and legible? That was a wisecrack, of course they mean practice your writing style. Everyone has their own style and the more you write the more your style becomes evident. Write where you can be inspired....if I knew where that was I'd have been writing there long ago and you would find my book in a bookstore. Add a personal touch. That one has me completely baffled. Don't all your writings have a personal touch, after all, you're writing them. I suppose you could copy someone else but then it wouldn't be your writing.
I came across one particularly helpful hint in Hints to Writing Style . "Abstract nouns and gerundives are weaker than gerunds/participles, which are in turn weaker than verbs." As soon as I figure that one out I'll put it into practice!
Know your audience. Easy, whoever reads my writing. Seriously, how can you know your audience? You have no idea who these people are or what they like. They may not even like you, never mind your writing. If, however, you are an established author you probably do know your audience, you can tell by who is buying your book or demographically where it is more popular or what the genre is your writing about. Different people will be attracted to SciFi while totally different people will be attracted to romantic novels. It doesn't hurt to read the works of other authors in the genre you choose.
Writing style. This is truly a good one. Your style can range from dialogue to narrative to juxtaposition... Yes, I had to look up juxtaposition. The freedictionary.com site says, "jux·ta·po·si·tion (j k st -p -z sh n). n. The act or an instance of juxtaposing or the state of being juxtaposed . jux ta·po·si tion·al adj." I don't now about you but that totally cleared it up for me. In reality, it is the act of putting two things side by side. Does that make sense? Aren't all "things" side by side? I mean, every word I write is next to the other one! Again, I'm wisecracking a bit but I'm sure you get the picture, in your mind anyway.
As writing continues so does the discussion of how to write, what to write, when to write, where to write, why you write, what are you writing for, why are you writing at all? It is an ever evolving process with an ever evolving audience. So what's a writer to do?
The best thing for any writer to do is write. HubPages is a great place to start. Short magazine articles is another. It is always a great idea to keep a journal (or a diary), anything that leads you to write. As you put down your ideas you make a history of thoughts you can go back and investigate further when you're ready to write. Unless you are an exceptionally good writer you will be looking for things to write about and even when you find them your muse may not cooperate. Take notes. When that great idea comes to you in the middle of the night get up and write it down so you won't forget it. Read, find other writers that have similar styles and similar audiences and read their works. Try to figure out what makes their writing so good. Read magazines, newspapers, help your mind to grow. So what about writing? Why not give it a try?
Copyright Tillsontitan 2011