20 January 2015

write a lot

We editors tend to get asked "How do I write a story you'll buy?" This question is really "How do I become a better writer?" There are several things we recommend including joining a critique group, reading a lot of fiction and reading writing craft books. However, the number one thing you can do to improve your writing is write a lot.

A while ago Neil Gaiman said on his journal:Chuck Jones told would be artists to draw, explaining that "you've got a million bad drawings inside you and the sooner you get them out, the better". Raymond Chandler is reputed to have told would be authors that they have a million words of crap to get out of their system. And in both cases there's a lot of truth there -- if only because it allows you to keep going despite your technical limitations and inability to get the words or the pen to do what you want, and eventually find yourself, well, competent. And some of the words and pictures you turn out on the way can be pretty good too.

There's really no substitute for this. You have to put in the time and energy and put the words on the page/screen. You have to get used to putting one word after the other. I think it also helps you get over the preciousness of your writing. Authors need to be able to kill their darlings. :)

Behind the scenes, we are very busy at Electric Spec getting through the slush for the Feb 28, 2015 issue. If you submitted a story by the Jan 15 deadline you should hear from us by the beginning of Feb with a 'No thanks' or a 'Hold-for-voting' email. I better get back to it!

No comments: