29 May 2015
AS REGULAR readers of these journals will be aware, I am deep in the midst of writing my first ever novel, due for release in the coming months. As anticipation mounts, I thought I would spare some of my precious time to help YOUR literary ambitions, by revealing some useful tips I have learnt over the course of writing this book. My benevolence knows no bounds!
Here then, is my invaluable and incomparable writing advice. Quills at the ready, ladies and gentle-men!
1. Master the basics.
My first writing tip would be to make sure that you are writing with the TIP of your writing implement. I can still recall, with considerable pain, the time when I composed an epic fantasy trilogy, comprising three, 900-word tomes, only to find that I had been using the wrong end of my quill throughout the entire enterprise. I had to restart the process from scratch, this time with actual ink on paper, but gave up after the first paragraph as I was so ruddy dispirited by the whole affair at that point. I cannot stress this enough: USE THE RIGHT END.
2. Write it yourself, you lazy cur.
Some lazy, less-talented individuals may decide to take a back seat and employ a ghost-writer to pen their book. This is a false economy indeed, for a ghost-writer cannot hold any sort of writing implement without it passing straight through their hand, so are utterly, utterly useless. In addition, they spend most of their time wailing and moaning and clanking chains, which I get quite enough of from my servants, thank you very much. No, nothing beats your own authentic voice, and furthermore you would not end up wasting so much of your time cleaning ectoplasm off of all your surfaces.
3. Grab your readers by the balls – the eyeballs, that is – AND NEVER LET THEM GO.
You have very little time in which to grab your reader’s attention and to keep it. Your readers are busy people, with things to do and other opening paragraphs to read. You need to make an impact, and make an impact FAST, like a rotund gentle-man plummeting off of a diving board. Make the very first word of the book something eye-catching, like ‘KABOOM!’ ‘POW!’ or ‘BREASTS!’ Hook the reader in, then batter them into submission against the tree-stump of your writing. Throw them, blinking and disoriented, straight into the action, as I have done, as demonstrated by this chapter heading from my own forthcoming tome:
Perfect. Absolutely ruddy perfect.
4. Character is key.
Your characters are everything. Without sufficiently interesting and complex characters, you may as well simply deposit your manuscript beside the toilet, and leave it for others to wipe their filthy backsides on, as that would be the only use it would have to offer. Of course, in my case I am drawing from my own life experiences, and I am a most interesting and complex character indeed, not to mention devilishly handsome, strong, well-endowed and ridiculously attractive. The rest of you can try to make a character as immediately appealing as I (ha! Good luck!) but if all else fails, simply go through your manuscript and replace your main protagonist’s name with the words ‘Lord Likely’ instead. Guaranteed success awaits!
5. Keep your writing fresh.
You may spend hours, days maybe even a few weeks writing your magnum opus, but how do you prevent your writing getting stale as time marches on and your attention span wavers? If you get bored of your work, you can bet every farthing you have that your readers will get bored too, and may well slip into a coma. A coma that YOU caused by your tedious scribblings! To prevent that idea from playing on your conscience, be sure to keep plenty of alcohol on stand-by. I find that I am constantly surprised and thrilled by my own writing if I propel myself into a state of blind, roaring drunkenness as I write. I never know what may flow forth from my sozzled brain, and it is always a delight to return to a manuscript-in-progress the next morning with no recollection of what I wrote the night before. Needless to say, it is ALWAYS astounding.
6. Editing is for the weak.
This may be something approaching heresy among writing circles, but I firmly believe that editing is completely superfluous to requirements, a giant literary con perpetuated by editors over the years to give them something to do. As far as I’m concerned, if you cannot get your story perfect on the first go, then you have no business being in writing and may as well jab the pen right in your eye and slit your own throat with the side of a sheet of paper. If you so much as embark upon a second draft, then you are effectively saying that you are a weak, pathetic creature who cannot write for toffee. A builder does not get to go back, pull some bricks out of his newly-constructed house, and replace them with new ones. A soldier cannot run into a battlefield, and then ask for a second try afterwards as there were some things they felt they could improve upon. You get one shot at everything in life, and writing, I feel, should be no different. As the old adage goes: “If at first you don’t succeed, give up, you terrible, terrible failure.”
7. Ignore writing guides.
There are a lot of other writers who spend their time trying to tell you how to write, and I can guarantee that each and every one of them will be espousing nothing more than complete and utter arse-water. None of them REALLY know what they are doing, for they are all far too drunk to have any firm grasp of what is going on. Some of them may have attained some sort of triumph and think they now know all the answers, but they do NOT. They simply got lucky, and stumbled into success like a drunkard tumbling into a hedge, and in both cases, they’ve ended up somewhere, but have no recollection of how exactly they got there. If writers truly knew what worked, they would have bottled it and used it to guarantee that every single book they write is a smash-hit success and spent their hours swimming about in a vat of gold coins rather than helping the likes of you, you ignorant pauper.
No-one knows what they are doing, no-one has the answers, no-one is your mentor. Except for me, naturally. And now that I have spoken, go forth and do as I do, and I can GUARANTEE* that you shall be writing the next best-seller.
- Lord Likely.
*guarantee not guaranteed.
Lord Likely’s first novel will be available soon. To keep up-to-date with the latest developments, please sign up to his news-letter right now. Or not, but then it would be your loss, to be honest.