This is the first in a series of new posts by the Edge. Each week we will be giving our writing tips. This week I tell you to GO BE A DORK.
If you have any specific questions about writing, do feel free to ask us by writing in the comments, or calling us on Twitter. One of us will try and address them asap.
When I go into schools I like to say that aspiring writers need to be dorks. Not so much that it is necessary to be a giant nerd, as I was, but it is a great way to remember my top writing tips!
D = Daydream
Writers need to be able to daydream. Time spent making things up, wondering what if and why, interrogating experiences and observations is never time wasted and can lead to the best story ideas.
O = Observe
Writers tend to be (and need to be) keen and accurate observers. Not just observers of the stories around us that can kick off the process of inspiration, but observers of human nature. The best way to write consistent, human characters is to develop an understanding of real people, how and why they do what they do and say the things they say, what underlying hurts and pressures drive them.
R = Read
You cannot be a good writer without being a good reader. Read everything you can get your hands on, not only in the genre that interests you, but in genres that don’t, you never know what will inspire or interest you. In reading widely you will discover other voices that will feed into your own, other stories that will inspire you, you might discover how not to write, or discover a writer you want to emulate.
And from a practical point of view, you need to know what else is out there, imagine never reading YA, but spending years writing a book about sparkly vampires and only discovering Twilight when the agents you approach tell you to look it up.
K = Kwery or QUERY
Okay, I know it’s a cheat, the sounds are the same.
Query means that as an aspiring writer you should constantly query everything you see and hear, ask why and what if until you have built up a complete story in your head. Be annoying (if observing all your friends hasn’t been annoying enough already), get answers to questions and if you can’t find the answers, make up a story instead.
My final writing tip, once you have become a dork is both the most obvious and most difficult. The best way to become a writer, is to write.
No excuses - sit down and write.
The big difference between a published writer and someone who says they always intended to write a book one day, is that the published writer sat down and started writing, then kept writing until they got good enough.
Be a dork and write.