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writer...performer...sometime pop-up cinema host.

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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

How to Write and Be Published Books

There are many titles out there in the shops and in the local libraries that tell you how to be a writer; some are useful and offer good advice together with simple to understand exercises or tips. Others, however, I have found, seem to get bogged down with how to write or how to break into the the world of agents and publishing houses. A book I am currently reading, albeit very interesting, was printed in 2011 and seems to be five years behind. I have constantly been reminded of the fact that to make it you need an agent, to do that you need to be published, to do that you need an agent etc (the Catch 22 scenario), some of these books get too bogged down with an apparent need to produce literary greatness. Geniuses like Hemingway or Dickens never went to a Creative Writing workshop or had a degree in it. They also never (I understand) studied a Write For A Living in a Week, they just wrote and wrote what they knew: what they loved to write about.
Fellow writer Jeff Goins, who I follow on Twitter (https://twitter.com/JeffGoins), has written such a book and it has proved to be the best one I have read yet. In it he wants you as a writer to enjoy writing, not think about the means to a successful way of living. If you enjoy what you write then surely it would follow that your readers will enjoy it too.

Think of a film you may have seen where it comes across as a mess; the actors look awkward; the direction is mundane; the camera-work shoddy and the advertising non-existent. Does that come across as a project that was enjoyed by anyone?

Networking is very important (and something I'm not very good at); learning from your mistakes is also very important, after all, Dickens didn't produce Pickwick Papers for all of his life, it led on to such works at Oliver Twist and Great Expectations. Equally as important is to love the process of the whole thing in the first place. Write about something that you love to write about and that you love to talk about. Whether it's a science fiction novel; crime thriller or a story of a little steam train. If you love it, then your audience will love it.

By the way, a brilliant proofreader is worth their weight in gold!

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Piper in the Woods by Philip K. Dick http://www.gutenberg.org/files/32832/32832-h/32832-h.htm is a fanatstic short story that I would love to turn into a screenplay; It's a great read about a man who is convinced he is a plant. What I loved about this would be the connotations if this man were in the here and now and manged to convince people that they too could be plants. A whole different way of life and a new belief system would have to be put into place. I find this idea intriguing.

Philip K. Dick is a master.


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