Archives For writing advice

Here is a clip that I stumbled upon some time ago that I kept to heart because… jeeze, it’s rather great, honestly. This is Iron Man’s father — Robert Downey Sr., who is a wonderful director who some may or may not know. He’s cult filmmaker and there’s a good reason why. If you have a chance, seek out some of this works like: Putney Swope or even Moment to Moment (Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight). Definitely great for those who like a more experimental/surrealistic approach to filmmaking.

Anyway, the main goods…

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Last week I finished Ernest Hemingway’s A Movable Feast — a memoir of his time in 1920s Paris. It’s a short book and it has some neat insights about what he did and the people he hung out with — but you see it through his particular point of view (especially how F. Scott Fitzgerald is portrayed — I can’t tell if it’s truthful but it’s pretty damn hilarious). But for me (and whoever else read the book), the takeaway passage happens roughly near the beginning:

“I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.

But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.

It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.”

This guy.

Simple, huh? It’s a neat little writing mantra to decorate your typewriter with or to add to your wall of “inspiring” quotes… that is, if you do that kind of thing, heh heh heh ;)

I found this jackpot of goodies via Twitter: the complete video footage of Brandon Sanderson’s 2012 creative writing class at Brigham Young University.

From his Wikipedia entry:

“Brandon Sanderson (born December 19, 1975) is an American fantasy author. He is best known for his work in finishing Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time, and his own Mistborn series. Sanderson worked as an editor for the semi-professional magazine, Leading Edge, while attending school at Brigham Young University, and he now teaches creative writing there.”

The classes are focused on science fiction and fantasy writing but I’m sure there are great advice for all. To give you a taste, here is part one of lecture one:

The rest of the lectures can be found on the site Write About Dragons >>> HERE <<< or you can just navigate through the playlists on the YouTube channel.



On Feb. 14, 2011, the Scriptwriting Program was having the first Hothouse Play Reading event. Writers provided 15 pages of material and actors were asked to volunteer their time to do a live read. Here was the perfect opportunity to see how our stories, characters, and the words they say, held up against the expectations of an audience.

For the moderator role, the program organizers would ask of a theatre expert from the local community. This could range from coordinator, critic, or even a university professor. Basically, friends of friends of the instructors.

These moderators were supposed to give a guest talk for theatre acting students and scriptwriting students. It was eventually decided that this option was scratched due to the performance of the first moderator.

I believe having the person come in to do an hour of talking and then expect them to sit through two hours of amateur scripts was overwhelming. Plus it was a Monday night. And it was Valentine’s Day. AND his wife was with him.

So what happened?

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Here is a quote I found from Alan Moore (known for Watchmen, V for Vendetta, etc). I like it because he describes the truth of what it takes to be a writer and the sacrifices you have to make to be one. A lot of people in my life (family and friends) think that being a writer (especially if you’re an unpublished writer) is not difficult and that you’re not doing that much labor. They don’t understand that under all that stillness, there is the unseen struggle that goes on in the mind of a writer. 

Although the advice is for comics writers, it is obvious that this advice can be applied to all writers of fiction (and I guess, non-fiction too).


Also, if you do not know who Alan Moore is… then I am very sad. At least read Watchmen. Please. Thanks :)

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