It’s taken me my whole life to truly understand story. Story is what connects us to one another. Story transforms strangers into friends. Every person has a different path, but they share common human experiences. Most of us want to experience love. Many of us have suffered heartbreak. Who has lived long on the earth and not experienced loss? The stories that I’ve written and those which have connected with people the most are the stories that embodied the depth of my own personal experiences. My book Retaliation shared a story of a girl getting jumped, but I was harassed in high school until I started fighting back. In many ways, the Retaliation book took from my own life story. I’ve received lots of writing advice, but this is what I believe is the 5 best pieces of advice for writers looking for what to write.
5 Best Pieces of Advice for Writers
- Write what you know: If you have experience on a horse farm, draw from those experiences and create a compelling story. There are things happening on that horse farm which would bring some of us to tears. Use that to your benefit.
- Reveal your trauma: The deepest pains you have experienced as a person are often the richest stories to give back to readers. No, you don’t have to recount every aspect of your personal experience. But, you can draw from it and add real emotion to your stories.
- Embrace the pain: I used to run around and think, “Be happy. Be happy. Be happy.” And, it great to want to be in a state of joy. But, understanding my pain has truly released me. It has also allowed me to give pain to my characters which readers truly appreciate. Pain in a well-crafted story is really powerful.
- Be your character: I recently was reading a book about improving dialogue. One of the suggestions from the author was to walk around and sound like the character. Talk like him, walk like him… have a conversation. I learned so much about my characters when I took 15 minutes trying to BE the actual character.
- Great writing is rewriting: I never understood it when I heard people say, “Writing is Re-writing.” But, a light bulb went off in my head recently. When you write the first draft of anything, there are many parts of it that can be improved. Perhaps, its the words used to describe the setting. Perhaps, the dialogue can be sharpened. Rewriting doesn’t mean changing your story or characters, it means using better words to convey the same thoughts or thoughts which are more crisp. It took me 5EVER to understand that concept.
I hope some aspiring writers out there are getting something from these Writing Wednesday posts. Let me hear from you! Email me: email@example.com
Peace & Love,