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Stilted Dialogue – “helpful” tips

Last time, I had some mildly dark things to say about sales people who regard the words ‘No, thank you’ as some kind of personal challenge. I complained about their increasing habit of taking my words literally, deliberately misunderstanding me in the hope I will suddenly change my mind and allow them to sell me something. Top tip guys, annoying me is not the way forwards with regards to my buying your goods and/or services.

What we say is, generally, not what we literally mean, despite the hopes of the utility monkeys. When in conversation with a real life meat-world person, our brains are constantly analysing the data we receive, predicting the end of their sentence. Our reply is formed well before they have finished speaking. This biology should also be borne in mind when writing. Read More…

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…how to finish what you want to start.

Everybody wants to write a novel. I have no idea why.

It’s something which troubles me from time to time. I say time to time, but, quite frankly, I am possessed of a munificently poor memory and am quite unlikely to manage to remember everybody’s wishes with regards to novel writing, let alone the amount of trouble I derive from knowledge of said wish.

Unfortunately, for many the process of writing down words in some vaguely understandable form for a sustained period of time proves too much. They may begin, but they do not complete and so they remain: one day, intending to write a novel.

Happily, there are rules. There are techniques. There are a thousand pieces of advice awaiting You, oh lexical dreamer, and surely, among these methods and orders there is a Key which will Unlock the Writer Within. You will complete that novel. You will secure that agent. There will be an Advance and Publication. There will be a Party, possibly one which includes cheese. There will be Your Book, bearing Your Name, in a shop into which anybody may stroll and, once there, they may take, providing they have first parted with the appropriate amount of their local currency, and it will become part of their life, whatever life that may be.

Among those who one day intend – really and genuinely, honestly they do – to write a novel, there are those for whom the challenge lies not in the idea, or the finding the time in which to do it, but in the completion of said novel. They get an amount of words in and something pulls them away. They swim, thinking they really ought to go back and finish, but there are new ideas and these are better, and we begin again and so it goes, around and about, so on and so forth, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

I know many “rules” and I have never found one which worked for me. This is due in-part to lacking the kind of problems which can be solved by rules. It is also due to my inability to remember any rule for the duration longer than the time it took to read it, sometimes not even as long as that. However, I know of many who find them useful and many more who believe an elusive unheard rule is all which stand between them and the millions their book will earn them.

As with all rules, these are not absolute, but if rules have so far failed to work and you remain undeterred in your quest to reach the end of the novel you are so desperately certain you wish to write, you might as well attempt to apply one of these to your life.

 

Do what you want

There are no writing police. It’s okay to shift the goal posts half way through. Mr Delete Key respects your confidence.

 

Understand how you spend your time

For many, the question is “How do I finish my novel?”. I would try the question “What is stopping me from finishing my novel?”.

Eliminate the answer from your life. If it helps, I have connections; Euro only, unmarked bills.

 

Learn How To Care

I am all about the tough love. Actually I’m not, I’m about taking names, but if I wasn’t a wasted auld harriden for whom love is but a distant memory, it would be presented in the tough form.

Nobody cares that you aren’t writing a novel. They do not care you intend to. They do not care you have.

You need to care about it. You need to care more about this than you care about anything else. If you can’t care about this, find something you can care about. It doesn’t matter if it’s the most derivative, nonsensical fan-fiction ever produced; if you care about it then do it. A novel is a big thing to complete for the first time.

Write something from beginning to end and regard it as the achievement it is. Quality we’ll worry about another time.