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Writing Tips

 No Matter What You Write

#1 Tip:

I admit I stole this from amazing Fantasy Writer, Terry Brooks. I've been fortunate to study writing with Terry on several occasions at The Maui Writers Retreat (years ago, now reincarnated), and he would say this ALL the time, drumming it into our heads:

Read, read, read,

Write, write, write,

Read, read, read:


Suzanne Tyrpak, Terry Brooks, Val Ford, Maui Writers' Retreat, 2000


#2 Tip:

Write what you love

Having attended a number of writing conferences, I've often heard the tired phrase: "Write what you know." 

What I agree with: Write about feelings you've experienced, types of people you have met and can write about intimately, informed landscapes and places you have visited in real time or researched-including fantasy worlds you've created in great detail, historical locations you've meticulously recreated, other dimensions--as long as the worlds you write about are believable within their context, there's no limit.

What I disagree with: If writers are confined to write only about their immediate world and experiences, not only will they bore themselves, they will bore potential readers. At some of the conferences I attended (especially those where literary fiction was emphasized) students often wrote about mundane situations--endless scenes set in kitchens drinking coffee. No conflict, inner or outer, no story, not even self examination.

One teacher stood by "write what you know," to such an extent, he scolded a woman for writing about a tsunami. She calmly informed him that she had survived one. But that's beside the point. The point is you can write about whatever you like, as long as it's believable. I admit, I challenged this teacher when I mentioned Shakespeare often wrote about topics he hadn't lived through, some of them sheer fantasy. 

I say, write what you love. Write about what moves you, subjects for which you feel passion. If you love fantasy, go ahead. Same for historical novels, romance, thrillers, mysteries, etc. You don't need to be a criminal to write about crime. But you do need to do research, so you can create a story that consistently draws in your readers. 

That brings me back to Tip #1: whatever genre you chose to write, read a lot of it. And read the classics. Know your genre. Then read, read, read, write, write, write, repeat.

Write from Informed Imagination. Soul Collage, Suzanne Tyrpak



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