Creative Writing Advice #5: Read, Run Wild, Revise


Today’s WEbook Writing Secret comes from longtime WEbooker ducktoes. Ducktoes studied creative
writing at Columbia College in Chicago, where he now lives with his wife, who
could karate chop him right in half if she wanted to. Ducktoes is the project leader
of Nabil’s Secret, a
novel currently in contention for publication by WEbook, and you can watch him
performing a cappella Bon Jovi on YouTube.


Read with a
critical eye. This will ruin a lot of your blissful reading experiences, but
consider that just one interpretation of the maxim, “Ignorance is bliss.” Once you
set down the path to becoming a writer, you will never experience organized
storytelling elements the same way again. When you read a great book or watch a
movie with impressive storytelling, try to figure out how this or that
particular emotional impact is accomplished in a given scene. Keep in mind that
you gain as much (if not more) from recognizing how not to do things as you do from figuring out how it’s done

Run Wild

experimental. Try everything, but allow
for growth. Realize that many of your ingenious ideas will seem flat to a
future, more experienced you – but see them through anyway. Now is the time to
play. You will begin to cultivate a unique aesthetic of writing, and by the
time you’re through trying to circumvent the rules with cleverness you’ll have
taught yourself just what the function of those rules really is.


writing comes from meticulous rewriting. Most of the words in your favorite
books have been scrutinized and re-scrutinized until the author is satisfied that
they are saying exactly what they need to say in order to advance the story or
develop the characters. This isn’t cheating. Getting the story on the page accesses
a different area of your brain than editing and re-writing. The former draws on
the excitement of telling and discovery; the latter sets itself to the task of
making the work as refined as possible. If we could, we would express our great
dramas to one another by pressing our foreheads together and meshing our
wavelengths. Since such a psychic bond is not practical, at least not on a
large scale, we must rely on the tried and true elements of craft.

Submit to WEbook
Writing Secrets

and readers of this blog are welcome to submit their own writing wisdom! Visit
my profile
and send me a message titled “WEbook Writing Secret." Submissions should be no more than 500 words,
and should focus on practical elements of writing craft – the more focused on nuts
n’ bolts, the better! The best
submissions will be published in this
and in the WEbook Toolbox. Good luck!

-- Melissa

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  1. Nice post.
    Do you have any sign-up WEbookers with Writing Wisdom posts that might want to present them at LitCamp?
    Pref people local to us (London) or we could think about showing a short film if you have one?
    Get in touch if you'd like to know more


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