Nuggets

nuggetsBy the way, some other juicy nuggets I learned/got reacquainted with at the Antioch Writer’s Workshop (I want to write these all on my whiteboard, but I’d run out of room):

  • We write what we don’t know we know.
  • “All first drafts are shitty.” (Anne Lamott)
  • What sort of writer would I be if I wrote every day?
  • Time is limited, and dirty laundry and dust are patient.
  • Always begin a book in the middle of an active scene.
  • Accept what comes in the writing, whatever it is. Be willing to fail.
  • Use at least three senses to activate a scene.
  • Concrete images are alive and contain secrets. Abstract language isn’t live-giving.
  • Every scene in a book should have a purpose.
  • Show, don’t tell.
  • “Art is transferring feeling from one heart to another.” Leo Tolstoy
  • Don’t write about characters, write with characters.
  • “There is a certain grain of stupidity the writer can hardly do without, and that is the quality of having to stare.” (Flannery O’Connor)
  • Don’t keep secrets from the reader that don’t need to be a mystery, but…
  • If there are secrets to be revealed, don’t tell the readers pieces until they have to know.
  • Characters should never tell each other what they should already know. (Don’t use dialog to inform the reader.)
  • Don’t explain why a character said something. Let the story arc fill that in.
  • Humility, consistency and authentic detail make a story narrator reliable and likeable.
  • Don’t read crap! Life is too short.
  • Everybody in publishing is scared right now.
  • “The moment of victory is far too short to live for that and nothing else.” Martina Navratilova
  • “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Samuel Goldwyn
  • “Words are always a gamble, words are splinters from cut glass. I write because it is dangerous, a bloody risk, like love, to form the words, to say the words, to touch the source, to be touched, to reveal how vulnerable we are, how transient.” Terry Tempest Williams