Sunday, November 14, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010, Day 13

19039 / 50000 words. 38% done!

Friday the 13th might be bad luck, but Saturday the 13th? Seems to be a pretty good day for writing. Certainly I could have done much worse for a day's work.

Not much to share today, so I thought I'd throw out a few Links of Interest. First up is this story from New York Magazine about James Frey's Full Fathom Five, which to me sounds a lot like a sweatshop for young writers who don't know anything about how the writing business works. I will reluctantly admit that back in college, this would have sounded like a pretty good deal to me. I mean, hell, it's practically guaranteed publication! Plus $250 and a cut of the profits from whatever the book makes, including movie rights! What hungry young author wouldn't jump at that?

Well, if you are a hungry young author: Don't. John Scalzi sums up the reasoning better than I would.

And on the positive side, Lifehacker has a Top 10 list of tips for better writing. It's pretty good advice: I especially agree with the benefits of writing longhand once in a while, as well as the importance of distraction-free writing tools.

The only thing that they leave out? Practice, practice, practice. Even if you keep a regular writing schedule, you are not going to improve if you don't occasionally stop to stretch your writing muscles a little bit.

On top of the exercises Victoria Strauss recommends, I'll throw in focused rewriting. Basically, you pick an author or a book you love, sit down with it at a keyboard, and type out the text, word for word. You can learn a lot about an author's style from this exercise, while also strengthening your own. And don't worry unduly about becoming a copycat of your favorite author: This is an exercise Hunter S. Thompson used with The Great Gatsby, and I'm hard-pressed to point out the duplication between Thompson's writing and F. Scott Fitzgerald's.

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