I don’t seem to post about much other than writing these days. Maybe because writing is eating my head?
In an attempt to provide a pale shadow of variety, I give you . . . a meme about writing!
(From David Moles originally, by way of anghara.)
- Ten Things I Don’t Know About Writing
1. How to describe people’s faces. I really, really suck at it.
2. How to create truly broken characters. I’m getting better at incorporating flaws, but the real headcases are still beyond me.
3. How to avoid the phrases “for a moment,” “at last,” “finally,” and their near cousins. Weasel words are showing up less in my prose, but those are still driving me crazy.
4. How to really hack something up in revision. The occasions when I’ve been able to do this, it’s generally taken a year or more of downtime for me to get sufficient perspective. My revision tends to be more of the polishing sort.
5. How to write sex scenes. I’m with Alma on this one; they just tend to happen offscreen. Which leads to an awkward compromise in one unpublished novel where the mechanics of what’s going on are actually relevant.
6. How to outline. I suspect this is on a lot of lists. I’m very glad my editor doesn’t ask for real outlines. (She asked for one the other day, but it turned out to be more like “two paragraphs we can use for promotional purposes,” which is much more within my reach.)
7. Corollary: how to estimate length. I can try, and sometimes I’m more or less right, but with The Waking of Angantyr, the last novel I wrote before selling Doppelganger, I whiplashed back and forth between “how am I going to make it to eighty thousand words” to “oh jeebus this thing is going to be at least a hundred and fifty thousand.” (It ended up at 123K.)
8. How to describe nature. I grew up in suburbia. That’s a tree. Over there is a bird. What kind? Hell if I know.
9. How to get really squicky. I have friends who adore the grotesque. I am not like them. Some of my stories edge closer to horror, but I’ve never managed anything really and truly gruesome or horrific.
10. How to describe my own writing. One tip for query letters to agents and (book) editors involves saying what authors you’re similar to, or what audiences might like your novel (e.g. “This story would appeal to readers of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice“). I can’t do it. I don’t think I’m such a perfectly unique snowflake that I am beyond comparison; I just have no idea who I should be compared to. Which led to some pretty crappy query letters on my part, I imagine.
How about you all? What don’t you know? (Or any good tips on learning the things I don’t know?)