The best tips from the authors, playwrights, and screenwriters.Writing is easy, according to Goosebumps author R.L. Stine. Yet, action writer David Baldacci believes it is difficult to begin your career. Commercial fiction writer, James Patterson, and comedian Judd Apatow enjoy writing when it is collaborative. Judy Blume believes being a good reader is what makes a great writer. They are all right.
Writing is easy, according to Goosebumps author R.L. Stine. Yet, action writer David Baldacci believes it is difficult to begin your career. Commercial fiction writer, James Patterson, and comedian Judd Apatow enjoy writing when it is collaborative. Judy Blume believes being a good reader is what makes a great writer. They are all right. Each author has their process for writing. Here is what I learned from taking 15 Masterclasses on writing in 3 months.
The questions that almost every author gets is, “Where do your ideas come from?” Ideas come from all around you. A writer does not need to look far for a good story idea. It is a matter of how observant you are about everyday life. Neil Gaiman (Coraline)uses concepts from other fiction, but with a twist. His idea for “The Graveyard Book” was inspired by “The Jungle Book.” Gaiman says that it is essential for a writer to have a compost heap. What you read, the people you interact with, and your observations become a part of your compost heap where they “rot down and become beautiful stories.”
David Baldacci’s ideas come from his unique perspective, looking at the world through a writer’s prism and adding his “fictional pixie dust.” He came up with the idea for his book “The Target” during an NPR interview where, asked to come up with a story plot live on the air, he merely observed what was around him. He turned it into a story about a North Korean spy working on the White House grounds.
Billy Collins, the most popular poet in America, writes his poetry from personal experiences. His poem “The Death of the Hat” recalls how his father always wore a hat and how society suddenly shifted from that trend. Judy Blume came up with her story of “In the Unlikely Event” because of an airplane crash in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, when she was a child. Dialogue for her characters in multiple books came straight from conversations her children had with their friends.
Writer David Sedaris takes ideas from his daily journal to transform them into compelling essays for The New York Times.
Generating ideas is about your surroundings. Stories exist everywhere, its a matter of pulling them from the universe and connecting to them. Writer/Director, Judd Apatow (Knocked Up), believes there is a universal pipe of creativity that one could connect with and allow the ideas to come as you write. You have to be disciplined enough to connect to the pipe.
Writing must be visually appealing to grab the reader’s attention. This is a fundamental rule in a speaker development course I teach several times per year.
Giving your novel a strong sense of place is vital to doing your part to engage the readers without confusing or frustrating them. Setting is a big part of this (though not the whole enchilada — there is also social context and historic period), and I often find writing students and consulting clients erring on one of two extremes.
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