“Top Ten Clichés, Mistakes, and Shortcuts to Make You a Better Writer!”
It’s very difficult to speak literally tongue-in-cheek but it’s not too hard to get some laughs while sharing some good advice disguised as extremely bad advice. I know that when I got back into writing, I tripped myself up with a lot of basic mistakes but there are some solid, basic fixes for those mistakes as well. Rather than present a list of great things to do, it can be just has helpful to present a list of terrible things to do as if they were good advice. It’s also more entertaining and it’s a writer’s job, in part, to entertain.
The Herriman Chapter of the League of Utah Writers was the perfect group for a discussion on ten core writing craft principles, including story openings, dialogue tags, structure, editing, and finding resources to further develop writing skills. A lot of these principles have been taught previously, but presenting them in a fresh, humorous (definitely sarcastic) way helped to make teaching them more fun and (hopefully) made them more memorable at the same time.
Having a home “reference library” created by the writers themselves, which is continuously updated, can go a long way toward learning better, faster, and more specifically to needs. Any book, including a novel or anthology can become a reference book and I presented (no sarcasm this time) my simple system for tracking, noting, and saving examples of writing that will be helpful at any point the writer needs to review them again.
Following the presentation, I sat in on a healthy critique session as well. This is what writing is all about: crafting solid stories, learning together, and sharing thoughts in a community of talented and generous authors.