Today, io9 reiterated one of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received, via Tor UK. As articulated in this case by Jay Kristoff:
Never finish a writing session by finishing off a scene.
Even if you’re in the grip of the muse and the words are flowing . . . stop before you finish. If you can bring yourself to do it, stop in the middle of a sentence. . . . You’ll find that you’re keen to get back to the page when your next day’s writing session begins. Moreover, you won’t be stuck at the beginning of a new scene, staring at the flashing Cursor of Doom and wondering what happens next. You’ll always have something to pick up and run with.
Or, as someone put it to me, always leave yourself somewhere to go next time.
Today I read:
But they had found it in the drawing room. Not that one could ever see them. The window panes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the glass. If they moved in the drawing room, the apple only turned its yellow side.
— Virginia Woolf, “A Haunted House“
Today I read:
Wait Mister. Which way is home?
They turned the light out
and the dark is moving in the corner.
— Ann Sexton, “Music Swims Back to Me“
Hahah, here’s some bad advice from famous writers. My favorite:
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” — Saul Bellow
OK, sure, Saul, whatever you say.
I tend to think that, after a certain point, researching fiction is just a stall, but Mary Robinette Kowal’s attempt to create a Regency-era dictionary sure is impressive.
The Jane Austen Word List comprises 14,793 words from Austen’s works, which Robinette Kowal is trying to compile into an Open Office dictionary so that she can ensure that her prose is period correct.
I can see the value of such an enterprise for dialogue and specialized terminology (I wouldn’t want going around misusing words like “jabot” or “phaeton”), and I realize that historical errors strain readers’ suspension of disbelief, but is the point actually to replicate the diction of another era exactly? Unless we’re talking about fictional primary documents (diaries or newspapers or something), I don’t think anyone actually expects the prose of a contemporary author to sound like that of someone writing 200 years previously, do they?
LiAnn sent me this amazing list of Raymond Chandler’s unused titles. You better believe I’m gonna make every effort to use them.
Some of my favorites:
Here It Is Saturday
The Corpse Came In Person
Stop Screaming — It’s Me
No Third Act
Expect all of these gems to appear from yours truly soon.
Today I read:
I am amazed that poets will continue to write about their divorces, even though there is currently a robot taking pictures of orange ethane lakes on Titan.
– Christian Bök, about his poetry-producing microbe the Xenotext, in “The Xenotext: creating the poetry bug” [via the Outlet]