Preparing Yourself to Be a Writer

As an author of speculative fiction and science fiction writings, I have also dedicated myself to helping writers and readers write better and read more effectively. This is Lorenzo Samuel's Advice Blog, which I'm sharing with you. This blog's tip is for writers and readers:

Do you want to jump-start into the writing game? This is where the frog springs into the pond. First, our amphibian croaks then it jumps. Splash. The small creature does it again and again. From the time it changed from tadpole to frog, it practiced and practiced doing the frog thing; it croaked and sprang into the pond. Time passed, and it became expert at being a frog, croaking and jumping with abandon. An expert frog.

Perhaps, you want to become an expert writer or reader. If so, learn from our amphibian. Practice. I'll tell you what I do to give you an idea of what it takes to be a writer: 1st, read and write a lot. I read and write daily even if for only 15 minutes. Of course, one can't get much reading or writing done in 15 minutes. However, you will do something that's extremely important - you'll maintain the flow. It's called persistence and is one of the characteristics of genius and successful people. The absolute wrong thing to do is put off your reading or writing until you have some time, until the weekend when you'll be undisturbed or until you feel like doing it. You read and write even if you are sick.You make yourself do it. Read and write. A famous author once told a college class during an invited lecture that one doesn't know if one has a style until she or he has written about 200,000 words of fiction. Pile up the wordage. The more you write, the faster you will hit that 200,000 word mark.

2nd, note a paragraph in a good book that strikes you as being exceedingly fine. Write it out and keep at it until you can write it verbatim. You say, why do that? I don't write in that style. That's not me. True. However, you are writing. So, persistence bites us again. That's a major key. More to the point of writing another's verbiage, before long, you'll begin noticing that your style will change. You won't write like anyone else; you'll write like you; however, each author you do this with has been through the same ropes you will go through yourself. Maybe a line of their writing will be you, and your style will develop and still be yours. Do this with each book you read. Use the book not only for entertainment or knowledge. Choose a striking paragraph for each book and practice with it.

3rd, study texts on writing technique. I have more than a dozen such books. One of them I have read 12 times. Here's a list in order that they appear on my office book shelf: "Story" by Robert McKee, "The Magazine Article" by Peter Jacobi, "Writing a Woman's Life" by Carolyn Hellbrun, "Techniques of Fiction Writing: Measure and Madness" by Leon Surmelian, "Writing the Breakout Novel" by Donald Maass, "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" by Lynne Truss, "The Element of Style" by William Strunk, Jr. & E.B. White, "Mastering Suspense Structure and Plot" by Jane Cleland and "Art" by L. Ron Hubbard. Why have I read the book "Story" 12 times? It's not so I can remember what the author wrote although that is okay. No, it is to absorb the material. To make it mine. To train my mental muscle to do what it says without thinking about it. So, study those texts.

Do these 3 things and one day your style, facility and ability to entertain and to present your ideas will blossom out with expertness and ease.

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