Thursday, May 3, 2007

Great Advice from Award Winning Writer

I came across an interesting article the other day. Rather than paraphrase what specifically spoke to me, I've pulled points from Pulitzer winner Doug Wright's keynote speech for the Backspace Writer's Conference. Please go to http://www.bksp.org/secondarypages/articles/authors/DougWright1.htm to read Mr. Wright's speech in its entirety.

KEYNOTE SPEECH FOR BACKSPACE WRITER'S CONFERENCE
"Finding Drama Amid all the White Noise" By Doug Wright
2. Write for readers who are smarter than you. If you're writing a medical thriller, assume it will be read by Harvard neurosurgeons. If you're scribing a historical romance, set against the backdrop of the Civil War, presume that Doris Kearns Goodwin and Ken Burns are among your readership. The moment your audience sniffs condescension, you've lost them forever.

5. Dismiss that woefully misguided maxim "Write What You Know." Instead, and I emphatically believe this, write what you don't know. Write about what confuses, enrages, haunts and confounds you. The writer who has the answers is penning propaganda; the writer on a quest for them is the one I'd rather read.

7. Never be afraid to humiliate yourself. Arthur Miller said we haven't truly done our work if our writing fails to cut so deeply, so close to the bone, that we're vaguely embarrassed by it. When you write, don't be limited by your sense of shame.

8. Every time you start a book, assume it will never be published. The opportunity to revel in your subject, to drink it in, to obsess over it, should be enough. That way, even if your masterpiece never makes it to Barnes and Noble, by its completion, you'll still be the world's expert on the indigenous Eskimos of Greenland. For two, six, or twelve glorious years, you'll have walked in their snowshoes, and, book or no book--you'll be richer for it.

2 comments:

Christa said...

Geez--do I hafta like #8?

Missy T said...

Very interesting points. :)

By the way, Jess, I'm tagging you for blog tag! Hope you'll come to play!

MIssy :)