This week, among a group of writing friends, we were trading pep talks as each of us faced subtle challenges in our work. When you start out in writing, advice is all “big picture”: getting around a blank page, building a story, how publishing works. I was struck, in reading the support shared among friends in my writing group, how much more nuanced advice gets, the more you write.
This week’s Friday Links for Writers varies in that same spirit. Among the “10 Rules for Writing Fiction” from established writers, advice ranges from the big-picture-obvious to the kind of affirmation a mid-career writer will relate to. In the tips from writers and editors at the New Yorker, advice has the edge of those writing in the trenches, as long-form freelancers. Those experienced with submitting short fiction to literary magazines will appreciate the “So What” factor.
As always, share your own links or insights in the comments, whether to say which links resound most for you or what you’d like to see more of. Best, with your writing this week!
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Lots of you may have read Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules for Writing Fiction (which are useful), but, in reprinting his 10, the Guardian has also solicited top writing advice from several other writers. I like Anne Enright’s acknowledgement that “description is hard,” to which she adds, “Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand.”
At a certain point, writing advice — particularly from established novelists — can feel a little predictable. Not this list on Buzz Feed, which shares advice from writers and editors in the trenches on streetwise topics like being successful as a longform freelance writer.
Do you submit short fiction or nonfiction to literary magazines? Check out this series of articles from the Missouri Review’s blog, which offer insight into what it takes to “write beyond good.” The link above takes you to the 3rd post in the series, which identifies the need for a story to have meaning. Links within the first paragraph take you to the first post in the series or this 2nd post on Creating Emotional Resonance. (If reading these leaves you wanting to address “stakes” in your work, try the process in October Fiction Challenge: Raising the Stakes on Character Motivation.)
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, seven Irish novelists — including 3 of my favorite writers — share the luckiest thing that’s ever happened to them: Emma Donohue, Colm Toibin, Sebastian Barry, Alice McDermott, Colum McCann, Frank Delaney and Tana French.
Especially when I’m writing short fiction, I feel kindred spirit with Wes Anderson films. I also find inspiring connection to read about the creative process in film and other arts. In this Fast Co. piece, Joe Berkowitz speaks with the production designer of The Grand Budapest Hotel about the turning point decisions that led to the film’s visual impact. I love Berkowitz’s observation of Anderson films, that “every part of the house in The Royal Tenenbaums is awash in revealing residue from the characters who inhabit them.”
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How About You?
Do you have a writing goal you are working to reach this week? Are you working on revising a draft, or strategizing to stake out more time for your writing? Or are you busy with submissions?
As posts earlier in the week shared, I am in the throes (imagine: swimming in heavy seas) of another round of novel revision this week. As mentioned above, several of my friends are in varying ranges of novel writing, revision and submission. Congrats go out to 3 from my writing group whose drafts advanced to round 2 of Amazon’s novel competition. And several of us are busy with applications for summer workshops or grad programs.
Join the conversation: share your goals, obstacles and successes in the comments. You are welcome to include links to posts on your site.
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