I’m told that I write funny. People laugh at my comments all the time, but I can’t say that I always understand why. Anyway, there is no point trying to dissect the why of a joke because then the joke is no longer funny.
Some of the world’s funniest people had no sense of humour at all, but their work is hilarious. Think Lucille Ball. You don’t need a sense of humour to be funny because funny is in your mind.
I had read the book Pride and Prejudice, noting that the author, Jane Austen, didn’t give many visual cues as to clothing, body language or even where the scene was located. Instead, she focused more on dialogue. The movie, in contrast, contained a lot of visual cues, showing the Bennet family home, the family at dinner and dances. I particularly noticed subtle eye signals that the book didn’t convey: raised eyebrows, a terse look, and secret motions or glances between characters.
Kimberly Yuhl suggests you have eight words to capture your reader’s attention.
Rob Weatherhead states in the article, Say it Quick, Say it Well (please excuse the grammar), that the attention span of a modern internet consumer is short. “Studies have shown that 32% of consumers will start abandoning slow sites between one and five seconds.”
Francine Rivers authored more than 20 novels, all of them bestsellers.
Rivers dreamt of being a writer even as a young child. In university she moved towards making that dream happen by majoring in English. When she heard that publishers wanted romance novels, she went to work and wrote a few love stories. She submitted them for publication and amazingly, some of her work was published. She was hooked. From then on, writing became her life and her identity.
But then something happened.
Recently I wrote a letter to a fellow writer who had become discouraged. How could I help her get her pen moving again—or her fingers to the keyboard? After thinking on it awhile, this is what I wrote:
Dear Discouraged Writer
There’s so much to learn, between writer’s guidelines and grammar and the struggle with making the words sound right, but if you’re comparing yourself with them, it will only make you feel bad. Every writer works hard, even the prolific author of the Harry Potter series who received many rejections before she broke into print. But what did I say about comparing oneself? Surely not to J. K. Rowling.
Dear Mica, Kiki, and Ellie,
I’m delighted with the latest stories you sent me! They are getting better all the time. I especially like the drawings that you made to illustrate them. I’m not at all surprised at how good your stories are, after all, you aren’t just any grandkids, you’re my grandkids.
I’m also glad that you’re each keeping a journal of daily happenings, and how you feel about them, and that you, Ellie, have started keeping a notebook of writing ideas. Way to go!
You’re so lucky that you can write everything on your laptops! For 30 years, I wrote daily dairies by hand. Then they finally invented laptops and I got one. I packed my diary notebooks in a large plastic bin with a sign on it, In Case of Fire, Grab This Bin and Run!
Beethoven discovered he was losing his hearing as early as age 25. For a musician, nothing could be more disastrous.
In his depression he wrote,
“Alas! How could I possibly refer to the impairing of a sense which in me should have been more perfectly developed than in other people, a sense which at one time I possessed in the greatest perfection…”
And yet Beethoven composed the Ninth Symphony while totally deaf. It is a joyous work and includes the well-known song, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.”
Following the premiere of this symphony, which Beethoven conducted, the audience broke into thunderous applause. Only when his solo contralto turned him around did he realize how appreciative his audience was.
In my Fiction Writing 101 series, I often refer to James Scott Bell and his writing books and tools, especially Plot & Structure. My copy is well-marked and highlighted. That’s where I first heard the differentiation between an OP and a NOP.
OPs are Outline People, NOPs are Non-Outline People. The abbreviations are easy to remember but the meanings tend to merge into one another.
Does anyone else have a closet full of impulsive good intentions? I used to rush out to buy the materials for a new craft I wanted to learn, or fabric for another quilt. I signed up for a class or bought a novel I’d always wanted to read, but because I didn’t make time for the projects, I never sewed a stitch or read a line. And that is the end of it. Or is it? May I mention the guilty feelings that attacked me whenever I spotted the undone things of my life? The more clutter in my house, the less productive I am.
The May topic on my newsletter, FineTuned, focused on starting a blog. There I advised writers to begin a blog only if they are serious about continuing it. It takes a lot of content, and some effort to keep it going. And it’s best to have topics broad enough to address week after week and month after month. Such as this Inscribe professional blog on writing. There are so many aspects to writing that it would take a long time before you run out of subject material.