1. Put the book aside and listen, for the first time, to your insecurities. Do not pay attention to what they say but to where they are pointing. They are wrong that you need to burn down the house but they might be right about starting in the basement.
2. Approach the manuscript ruthlessly, like it is a beloved and difficult friend who has asked to hear what they’re doing wrong. The misdeeds do not cancel out the love, nor vice versa.
4. Cut short and cut long. Change a limp image and discover the entire needs to be cut. Polish a flabby scene and learn it needs to be deleted. If everyone stays on the lifeboat it will sink and no one will be saved. There are hardly any novels that are too short.
5. Stand and pace. Feel the liberation of having dragged hobbled furniture from your room to lay out on the sidewalk for someone else’s benefit.
6. This is the third draft of this set of tips. Hopefully they are now more useful to the reader.
–Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events
Read more here: I Wrote a Novel, Now What?
Writing is a calling, a vocation. Sure, it’s also a profession. But as cliché as it is, you don’t get to earn a lot of money from just pen and paper. You have to always be ready for rejection and disappointments, because honestly, you’re going to have loads of them in the process.
Writing is passion. You have to really love what you do and not expect anything in return at all. What you write about should be something from your heart, and something that you sincerely want to share to your readers albeit receiving opposing reactions. You share yourself, not just your words.
Writing is courage, it’s not for the faint-hearted. You express your soul through words which is a manifestation of your entire being. You go beyond what is conventional and embrace both taboo and aesthetics at the same time. You bare yourself, no holds barred.
We Are The People is for writers not only who have the flair or the interest for it, but who have the guts for it.
Val Rey Nacilla
I was given the name Val for the sole reason that I was born on Valentines Day. You do the math. How predictable, right? However, the predictability that my parents possess wasn’t handed down to me for I like to believe that I am 100% “authentic” random. Moving on, I lack social skills, I have a very short attention span, and I seriously don’t know how to write an “introductory” editorial - heck, this is the first time I’ve heard of such - but since this is required for the awesomeness that is We Are The People, I will do my best.
I grew up normally till life required me to be sociable but thank God for television and handheld games: they kept me almost sane. However, that lead me to believe that I was living in my own plotline and all of you are just supporting characters. It’s true. Actually, I’m not one to brag but, I was told that when I was little, my family would tag me as their very own little Paolo Contis, not that we look alike but they say I have the spunk of that kid which unfortunately, faded with my memory of being compared to him. I know, where’s the cohesiveness in this?
As you might have noticed, I don’t talk much about writing since I have never been inclined to it until now. Promise. Thanks go out to the two people who are part of this blog, and some others, for inspiring me to pursue it, and I have been doing that for almost a year. I can say that I am deeply influenced by young novel authors who are passionate to divulge the secrets and the realities of being a teenager. Actually, somewhere in the future, I will write a novel for the young adult Filipino. Hell yeah, J.D. Salinger!
By profession, I am a registered nurse, but as of the moment I am in a conquest to figure out what I really want to do in my life. I am now constantly pushing myself against almost all boundaries, trying to do things that are unnatural to me. Most often than not, I suck big time but, cliché as it may sound, I pick myself up and move on. Strangely, somewhere between that pushing I told myself that I want to be a renaissance man. How awesome and, at the same time, ambitious is that? But it also means that I am going somewhere, that I am starting to reconstruct my dreams.
My delusions and jests aside, I’d like to share a quote. Rick Lee said in one of his interviews, “Kung kumakaliwa ang lahat, gusto kong kumanan.” And I’d like to begin this writing venture with that.
I’ve always found it very difficult to introduce or describe myself. Sometimes I feel like I know myself; sometimes I feel as though someone else knows me better than I know myself. I used to say that I am a walking paradox – always contradicting my own beliefs and my own emotions. Come to think of it, I’ve always loved it that way.
It is in writing that simply put, I am myself. I love being called a “writer” because I believe that you find glory in writing. There’s something about pouring my heart and my soul into words and allowing other people to see a part of myself that gives me a sense of fulfillment and happiness. Although not all reactions are into my favour, it is in being judged by my spectators that I learn the virtues of respect, courage, and empathy.
I will always be indebted to writing not only for the so-called fame that it has given me in the past years but more so for giving me the privilege to touch the hearts of people. It was through writing that I was able to express myself; at the same time, I was able to form a connection with my readers, assuring them that every human being has been through the same exact phase as one another. It wasn’t the publication or the money that mattered most, it was knowing that I have made a difference in the lives of others and have served as an inspiration to them in a way. Also, it was in writing that someone loved me without boundaries for he has seen the person that I truly am.
At this moment, I can say that I am starting life in a rather different trend than I used to. From being the ambitious young lady who wanted to make it big into being a wife and a future mother living a simple life. Although I have somehow lost my interest in becoming an international phenomenon in the arena of writing, I have not lost my passion for it. I write because I am certain that someone, somehow, will appreciate what I have to share.
I am who I am – a writer. A daughter. A sister. A friend. A wife. A mother.
From Professor Anna Felicia Sanchez's Classroom Policies, Department of English and Comparative Literature, College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines Diliman.
- A writer needs pride. Have just enough of it for other people to be able to tolerate you.
- Show, don’t tell. More importantly, learn when to show and when to tell.
- Don’t declare that you don’t like to read. It’s not something you should be proud of.
- The dictionary is your friend. The thesaurus? Not so much.
- Love the language you’re using. Use the language you love.
- Write what you know, and if not that, then know what you write. Just because it’s creative writing doesn’t mean research is beneath you.
- If you think that what you’ve done is good enough, then most likely it isn’t.
First, try to be something, anything, else. A movie star/astronaut. A movie star/missionary. A movie star/kindergarten teacher. President of the World. Fail miserably. It is best if you fail at an early age —- say, fourteen. Early critical disillusionment is necessary so that at fifteen you can write long haiku sequences about thwarted desire. It is a pond, a cherry blossom, a wind brushing against sparrow wing leaving for mountain. Count the syllables. Show it to your mom. She is touch and practical. She has a son in Vietnam and a husband who may be having an affair. She believes in wearing brown because it hides spots. She’ll look briefly at your writing, then back up at you with a face blank as a donut. She’ll say: “How about emptying the dishwasher?” Look away. Shove the forks in the fork drawer. Accidentally break one of the freebie gas station glasses. This is the required pain and suffering. This is only for starters.
In your high school English class look only at Mr. Killian’s face. Decide faces are important. Write a villanelle about pores. Struggle. Write a sonnet. County the syllables: nine, ten, eleven, thirteen. Decide to experiment with fiction. Here you don’t have to count syllables. Write a short story about an elderly man and woman who accidentally shoot each other in the head, the result of an inexplicable malfunction of a shotgun which appears mysteriously in their living room one night. Give it to Mr. Killian as your final project. When you get it back, he has written on it: “Some of your images are quite nice, but you have no sense of plot.” When you are home, in the privacy of your own room, faintly crawl in pencil beneath his black-inked comments: “Plots are for dead people, pore-face.”
Let’s face it, writing fiction is pretty much hard. There are certain things to keep in mind and more things to avoid. To wit, let us share with you one of our personal dos and don’ts from one of the most successful authors of our time.
- Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.
- If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.
- Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.
- If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a memory stick.
- Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
- Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What fascinates A will bore the pants off B.
- You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you’re on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.
- You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.
- Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.
- Prayer might work. Or reading something else. Or a constant visualisation of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.
Read more on Ten Rules of Writing Fiction.
Empire Of The Sun - We Are The People