Five Writing Philosophies
Here, I am going to share with you five philosophies I have about writing - each of which I consider to be important.
Write great characters and they will write the story for you
Without a doubt, great characters are essential to great stories. Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Exorcist, The Walking Dead - these all built their success on characters that are well developed, and that you care about.
With horror it is especially important, because you may take a fair bit of time to build up to the horror of your book and the characters are all your reader has to keep them going. A great example of this is the novel My Best Friend's Exorcism. You really root for these characters and their unbreakable friendship - if you didn't, the fact that the exorcism doesn't come until right at the very end means you would not stick with them.
What's more, if you come up with great characters, you will rarely get stuck as what will happen in your story next - as these characters will guide the story for you, and all you'll have to do is put your fingers to the keys.
Too many writers get hung up over whether they make the reader think over whether they make the reader entertained
This is probably what I fall out over with other creatives the most.
When I did my degree in film & scriptwriting, my lecturers were adament that we should have a purpose and a meaning behind our work, as this is the most important part.
The most important part of any form of entertainment is that it is entertaining. I want my books to entertain the reader. If I can make them think too, then great - but the purpose is primarily to entertain them.
Does it keep your interest? No? Then it's not good enough. End of.
If you worry about mistakes in your first draft, you will never get it finished
I live by the quote "write without fear, edit without mercy."
Your first draft is just that - your first draft. It is your ideas on the page. If you expect it to be amazing you will be very disappointed, and too many potential stories are not completed because people are so critical of their own first draft.
Your first draft should only ever be seen by you. Great stories are never written - they are rewritten and rewritten and rewritten. You will have time to go through and make it better later, just get the words down on the page.
Honestly, I Have the Sight has been very well received - but if I showed you what it looked like in the first draft you would be gobsmacked.
Whatever happens, get your 1,000 words done a day. If you don't, your dream of being a writer will forever be a dream.
The difference between a writer and someone who wants to be a writer, is that a writer writes.
I began writing whilst I was a teacher. I had a strenuous, stressful job. I was also a football referee, which took up a lot of my time. I also have a girlfriend who is deserving of my attention. And I take medication that makes me tired and I struggle to focus in the evening.
These are all called 'excuses.' No one is ever going to hear one of these and give me money for the book I never wrote because of them.
Whether it's a novel, just a bit of noting ideas in the notepad, a blog, planning, whatever - I will get my 1,000 words a day done by nook or crook. And when it's the holidays, I demand at least 2,000 words of myself.
That is because I want to be a writer. If you make excuses and don't write, you evidently don't want it enough.
If you're bored writing it, your reader will be bored reading it.
Absolutely true. Sometimes I'm writing something and I think "oh man, I need to get that next chapter done where that character visits that place. I can't be arsed with writing that chapter."
If that's the case, the reader probably can't be arsed with that chapter either.
Write the gist of it in your first draft then move onto the next. In the second draft, cut it, or change it in a way that will make it exciting. Your reader has paid their hard earned money to read your book, they have a right to be entertained.