Advice to Writers

My muse is officially in hibernation or on vacation or just plain MIA – missing in action. Pick the phrase you like – basically I have had no desire or motivation to put pen to paper creatively.

In an effort to get back on track, I’m going to share some quotes that Advice to Writers has posted. They apply to me when I’m writing – and maybe they apply to you, too. Cross your fingers that they spur my creativity!

First, Avoid Prologues. This quote is by Elmore Leonard.

Avoid prologues. They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in nonfiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.

Second, Don’t Look Back Until You’ve Written an Entire Draft. (I’m guilty of this one all the time.) This quote is by Will Self.

Don’t look back until you’ve written an entire draft, just begin each day from the last sentence you wrote the preceding day. This prevents those cringing feelings, and means that you have a substantial body of work before you get down to the real work which is all in . . . the edit.

Last but not least, Names are Important. This quote is also by Elmore Leonard.

Names are terribly important. I spend forever coming up with names. Sometimes a character doesn’t work until I change his name. In Bandits, Frank Matusi didn’t work. I changed him to Jack Delaney and suddenly he opened up.

That’s all for now. Do any of these apply to you? Did they make you think? While I can’t force myself to write, I’m going to sit down with my trusty notebook and see what happens. Maybe I will surprise myself and something more than gibberish will fill the pages. One can hope, right?

6 thoughts on “Advice to Writers

  1. On pictures I have a much shorter creative cycle – which I’m very grateful for!
    I have roughly 20K model pics and about 4K flower pics – so when I get some time I’ll first think what mood I’m in – then go hunting for a picture that fits the mood.
    Sometimes I’ll spend an hour just looking through pics – and suddenly – I see the one! After that it’s all about the editing – in which the picture can look totally different than I first envisioned!

    Anyway, enough about me. What caught my attention was the naming part. As a reader it’s so frustrating when the author names two characters with the same starting letter!
    Like Alentia is the badie and Adente is the goodie. That really throws me off. Frodo, Gandalf, and Mordor are much better!! {grin}

    Soooooo – I don’t have any sage advice or words of wisdom. Just stopping by to say hi!


    1. Thanks for visiting! So far the post hasn’t helped my muse, but there is still time. Maybe Trevor can inspire me *wink*

      I’m so with you on naming – drives me nuts!! I avoid names starting with the same letter and try to vary the length. For instance in the Halloween story, the guys are Zach and Preston. It is something so easy that authors really shouldn’t overlook it…at least in my opinion *grin*


    2. “Don’t Look Back Until You’ve Written an Entire Draft” – boy, that IS good advice! In my very limited writing experience, I’ve already discovered that agonizing over a single sentence or paragraph in a first draft increases the chances exponentially of writer’s block!


  2. I do occasionally find the prologue useful but it’s not something I like to rely on. Readers are smart enough to deal without the prologue and writers should be capable enough of not needing one as they drop backstory in.

    As to names, yeah I hear you on that one. Loud and clear!


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