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Top Tips For the New Writer: Art and Writing Books

April 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 157

One of the myths that seem to crop up regularly is that writing a book is producing great art. And like great art, it flows majestically from the muse to the artist in an organic waterfall of words.

Bull feathers and Hockey Pucks!

This myth is responsible for more bad books -- most of which were never published, thankfully -- than any other of the myths that new writers need to ignore.

The myth goes that you should spend some time dreaming about your topic. Then you sit down, maybe with three words, and begin to write. If you really push it, you can write an outline first. But basically, you create your characters. You define your setting. Then you put your characters in the setting and see what happens. You let your characters define your story for you. The words just flow organically and the story appears magically as characters reveal themselves to the reader. When you finish, you go back and rewrite anything that isn't working quite right. Then you go back and rewrite it again. And then you go back and... well, you kinda get the idea.

Fortunately, under the old publishing model, most books written this way never made it past the slush pile. If they got that far. Unfortunately, with the growth of self-publishing, this myth is becoming a writing system for many writing trainers. And the system of choice for many published writers.

The truth is that the basis for any great art is great craft. All of the great artists -- Picasso, Rembrandt, Monet, Dali -- spent years perfecting their craft before they ever began to create art. Notebooks filled with sketches of hands, and feet and flower arrangements.

The same situation exists for writing. Art requires craft. And writing a book is mostly about the craft of writing. Art is what happens when you blink and realize that your soul and your reader's soul share the same hopes and fears.

Writing a book does not need art. It needs craft. Art is just a fortunate coincidence. There are three key characteristics necessary for writing a book. These characteristics lie at the heart of the writing craft. And if your hope is to someday produce art, then you must first produce great writing.

The craft of writing a book begins with your control of the English language. In school, we're taught a formal version of the language. More precisely a version that has its origins in the ego of the Victorian scholar. When we leave school, we need to leave that concept of English behind. In its place are the concepts of reading ease and connecting with the reader. As James Thurber said, "When I split an infinitive, it is going to damn well stay split."

It continues with your ability to put the pieces and parts of a story together. To craft a story, as the saying goes. For a fiction writer that means the ability to manufacture characters, settings and a plot. For a non-fiction writer, that means the ability to organize ideas, illustrative stories and concepts.

Bringing it all together is your writing system. Writing is an activity like any other. It has a process -- a set of steps that must be followed. It has an environment. And it has actors -- the writer, the reader, the editor and the publisher. How all these work together when writing a book, is your system. And it will define how quickly and how effectively you are in writing a book. And how well your book is received by your readers.

Do you want to learn how to write a book in 24 hours? Take my brand new free course here: http://www.learningcreators.com

Do you want to read more free information like this? Go to my blog: http://www.learningcreators.com/blog/

Glen Ford is an accomplished consultant, trainer and writer. He has far too many years experience as a trainer and facilitator to willingly admit.

Source: EzineArticles
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