What is your favorite word and why?
Family. It gives meaning to my life.
Complete the sentence: The last thing that ever crossed my mind was ___.
...Geez, I hope I wake up in the morning!
If you won one million bucks, how would you spend it?
I’d fill my SUV with gas, buy my bride some flowers, use what’s left to take her to dinner, but not too expensive.
the guest blog:
Is there room in the box to add one more tip or one more thought about writing? Not much, but I’ll try to wedge mine in somehow. Writing rules and regs change with the times, and what’s in fashion now will disappear over the horizon only to orbit back and become “it” again. This recycling bit is the reason, or in my case, the rationalization I give my wife for not tossing my old ties. I know someday the string bow tie will make a come back.
Have fun writing. I don’t mean dancing around the room flipping rose petals in the air fun. More of a self-satisfaction, a chuckle now and then fun. If you don’t enjoy writing please find something that is. In the past whittling while humming an off key tune has worked for me.
Don’t take this writing stuff too seriously. Odds are that none of us will write the next great American novel. Well, I might….
Study your craft. Don’t get sloppy with your work. Don’t go adjective crazy. Watch how you use exclamation points. Too many and they lose their effect. Not everything you write is so exciting that it has to be earmarked with an exclamation point. This is a rule exception: It doesn’t apply to anything written by Valley Girls, defined as those who reside in the San Fernando Valley near
Have something interesting to say and have the authority to say it. If your story is a dog, being grammatically pristine won’t matter. Boring can’t be covered with a bunch of adjectives. I attended a writing seminar with John Grisham as the featured speaker, and during the Q & A he was asked by a teenage girl to read her 500+ page rough draft romance novel. She was sixteen. He told her that she needed more life experiences before she could write about the subject with authority. And no, he wouldn’t read it. A little brusque perhaps, but I agree with the point. She was just beginning life’s rollercoaster ups and downs. It would take more rides before she was ready.
Proper usage at times can drown the sound of the narrative. Shove it aside if it does and push forward. Don’t get hung up on English Composition 101 and allow proper usage to disrupt the rhythm of your writing. Obvious writing is distracting to the reader.
Stay in the background. Get out of the way. Use the point of view of a character, not yours. Use the character that is in the best position to breathe life into the scene, and the character’s voice to tell you what's happening. Don’t hang over the character’s shoulder.
Last, I try to adhere to what Elmore Leonard said, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” When I made my living carrying a badge and gun I wrote carefully crafted investigative reports that had to stand up in a court trial. This meant basic, factual text – no frills. The correct writing method for legal reports, but it doesn’t translate well to world of fictional fantasy adventures. Each time I sit down to write I keep Leonard’s words in mind, and trust me, I re-write a lot.
Thanks Ben for a great blog. I'm sure all us aspiring writers will find it useful!
You can visit Ben online at his website: http://www.benfurman.com/