Stealing advice

Every single writer has their own advice on how to write. I’ve heard and read so many different thoughts, that it can make you go crazy, and wonder if what you’re doing is right. But there are some that stand out, that I’ve remembered, for getting a decent story.

Joss Whedon – When it’s okay to kill people.

Of course I have to start with that awesomest of awesome people – the creator of Buffy. I listened to the commentary for Serenity a few months back, and one thing he said stood out. Don’t kill people off for the sake of it. There has to be a proper reason. Not only does this show how kind of disturbed writers are (I think I’ll kill this guy off now… shoot him!), but it really makes sense. If someone dies for absolutely no reason, it just seems lazy – like the writer thought they needed more action, or the character was annoying them, or it would just simplify matters.

BTW, I watched The Avengers on Thursday on the first showing. It was awesome. Go see it.

Avengers Assemble Poster

Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio – The plot

I didn’t actually listen to the commentary for this one (Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl), but my sister did and she told me. For me, the first Pirates was perfect. It had good characters, a good story, twists, and a satisfying end. The screenwriters had two pearls of wisdom. First, that the main character (in this case Will) should do something at the end that they would never have done in the beginning. In this case, Will hated pirates to start with, (and he was kind of a drip). But by the end he saved a pirate’s life (I’m guessing you’ve all seen the film, otherwise – spoilers!) and got the girl.

That leads onto the second point. The kiss had to come at the end. Maybe they almost kiss in the middle, but it HAS to happen right at the end. Of course, this isn’t an absolute rule, but it often works well.

Julia Golding – Write it down!

I love Julia Golding’s books – the Cat Royal series and Dragonfly are awesome. Her really simple, kind of obvious advice, is to just write the first draft down. Don’t edit as you go. Don’t antagonise over the first chapter. To be honest I’ve never suffered from this (I’m a little impatient – okay a lot – and not a perfectionist, I can write stuff I’m not too sure about and fix it later). But I’ve seen others do it, and they rarely get anywhere. They get bored, or frustrated, and nothing comes from their perfect first few lines. So yes, write it all down first!

I’m sure there’s tons of other useful advice, but I think that’s enough for now. But how about you? Is there anything you’ve heard other writers say that Just. Makes. Sense?


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