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How to Use Books on Writing

Writer's Advice Blog 1 July 23 by Lorenzo Samuel, author of speculative fiction. In the 1 June 23 issue of the blog, I discussed becoming and expert reader and writer and what this means to your writing. This month I will focus on how I'm applying the principles in books on witing.

There are two theories that I know of on how to approach story. The first is to write your story then submit it for publication after correcting typos and spelling errors mainly. Some powerful writers recommend this method. One of the main ideas behind this is that constant revision destroys creativity and freshness. Another idea is that you have an infinite number of ideas to draw on. You don't have time in your life to handle them all, but you can write story after story and get many of them out. Another idea is that it takes so much wordage to develop a style, so continuous writing is the best way to get the wordage out.

A famous author, who will remain unnamed although you might guess who that writer was, completed many, if not most, of his stories on first draft. That is the legend. However, a few of his editors asked for changes, which he made. He always advised that putting out the wordage in quantity was superior to technique and quality. Quantity first, technique second.

The second theory, which you might have surmised, is to hone your technique to an adequate amount, then write your story. A corollary of this theory is to write, as in the first theory, then revise with technique and quality in mind. You might have 10 or more drafts using this theory before your story is good enough to submit for publication.

In the first theory, a writer would learn proper technique and achieve adequate quality by doing a lot of writing. In other words, get used to putting out a large amount of work and obtain technique and quality in the process.

I have merged the two theories and added an additional wrinkle into the method: Never stop writing; however never stop learning the craft from others. This is the additional wrinkle, and what many beginning writers don't do. What they do do is write their story, submit it, get rejected, then self-publish or give up and throw their hard work into a drawer. You must love writing so much that you persist at it no matter what is in your way: earning a living, desire for fun, friends, or blocks in your own subjective life.

What is missing then? Is it that their idea for the story was lousy or that the technique of presentation was poor. In most cases, it is a failure in adequate technique. If you are reading this blog, you know that I write speculative fiction. To get published in this genre, a writer must have an original idea. Second, she or he must use writing technique adequate enough that a publisher would say that might sell well.

I have had many rejections. Both areas of writing are at fault, lack of originality and technique of presentation. Originally, persistence was poor too. Now, I have that behind me. I do persist. My technique is now up to, or damn close to, being adequate. I fall down on originality. I know it. So, in a future issue of this blog I will address the issue. You are your own teacher here. What is the craziest idea you can come up with? That will not sell without technique of presentation. Until next time, keep writing.

Note: To purchase the book "Eve of Valor: 25 Tales" click here.

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