Saturday, September 01, 2012

Writer Myths: The Three Big Fish

Hi, folks, whoa, I get busy in September. My youngest started high school. I've got two in college.  It's amazing how packed my days are right now. This month I'm going to touch on all the Writer Myths that I know.  I hope dispelling some of these myths will help you on your journey. I hope they put a smile on your face. I hope you find your spirit lifted and ready to do more work than you thought possible.

Writer Myth # 1: Write every day! Ha! Every writer finds her own rhythm. Some take a month off and write that month only. Some write on Saturdays. Some write on holidays. Some write during NaNoWrMo.  Some do write every day. There are dozens of strategies and some of them work. If you don't write every day and you are producing books, chin up! If you are not producing work, you may find writing every day helps you. Otherwise, follow your muse!

Writer Myth #2:  Write what you know! Baloney! You can read. You can research. You can write what you don't know if you want. The deal is by the time you are finished writing about it, you will know it. What happens if you want to write about someone who can fly. Do you really know about that? I mean, writers have BIG IMAGINATIONS. You might have to study stuff like bumblebees and birds and airplanes to get the flying just right in your story but I'm sure you'll find some stuff that is original to your view of flying. Writing is alchemy -- conjuring gold with a philosopher's stone. I like to say write what is true. If you start writing and find you don't know what is true, figure that out.

Writer Myth #3: Show don't tell. My eyes are rolling into the back of my head. This myth roams and roams. We don't call it story writing, but story telling. And the genius advice is: never tell anything. The trick  in writing a story is that you have to show and tell. Come on, did you go to kindergarten?  What do you show? What do you tell?  This is a good way to think about it.  Some things need more showing that others.  Somethings need more telling.  For me,  a good book has a lot to show, but slices in some telling.  The trick is to keep it all in a voice that I'm willing to stay up late at night reading with a flashlight under the covers.

I hope my mythbusting has cheered you up! I hope that you write your heart out. I really do because I love a good book. I'll be back next week with more myths.

Now it is time for our doodle of the week: "Kid Astronaut."

This week's quote is one of my favs:

"The unexamined life is not worth living."  Socrates.


Candilynn Fite said...

Hey, Molly! I'm slowly getting back to the blogging thing. Camp NaNo wiped me out, but I'm so glad to have participated and finished! Write everyday, even this month I couldn't write everyday. Some days I'd write 4k and other not at all.

I love your writer myths, and I agree, a bit of both, showing and telling is a good tactic.

Thanks for the shout out on the scratch!


MollyMom103 said...


I wish I were wiped out right now. I so want to send out my novel. I'm getting close...

I'm so impressed with your work! I hope we have books out at the same time and can have events together. :)

Glad you liked the myths, more to come.

Happy to shout out on the scratch! FYI, all, I also keep up the local SCBWI Brazos Valley Scratchpad blog,


Vijaya said...

Your introduction to this post reminded me that things get busier when the children get older. You just have to squeeze in time to write.

My personal rule is to write what you are curious about, what keeps you up at night ... well, if you're going to be up, you might as well write :)

A happy Lord's Day to you!

Janet Lee Carey said...

As always I'm late to the discussion, but I have to pop in to say Hooray!!! I'm so fed up with Myth # 3! There is a lot of telling in storytelling and voice has a lot to do with it. As with all of the axioms it's all about balance. Thanks again for another brilliant post, Ms. Molly.

MollyMom103 said...

Hi Vijaya, Oh, I like writing what makes you curious. Fine idea.
Hope you are having a good holiday.

MollyMom103 said...

Hi, Janet! Oh, yes, we are on the same page!

Faith Pray said...

Yay, Molly! I love your "Show and Tell" comment! Hilarious! I always know I can come here for encouragement and wisdom. Thank you.

Marcia said...

I believe in show-don't-tell. I don't think it means you never, ever tell, because of course there's a place for telling, such as when one character needs to bring another up to speed on something the reader already knows. But the vast majority of the time, I want scenes of action and dialogue. A big reason I don't read much adult fiction is that it tells too much. So many of my beginning writing students "report" that something happened or was said instead of using a scene.

MollyMom103 said...

Show don't tell.

Hi, Faith! Glad to pass on some of the good vibes.

Hi Marcia, I totally agree. Don't tell things that should be shown.