I’ve been brainstorming with event organizers to determine what participants might want me to talk about. Writing tips and discussions on craft are popular, while discussions on toenail fungus are not.
It got me thinking about what’s appropriate. If you’re reading this blog, you’re unlikely to be offended by tales of fake car sex and phallic wine stoppers. If you’re offended, you’ll stop reading. Writers’ group attendees won’t have that option (though they will have the option of pelting me with rotten fruit).
In the interest of (a) not offending anyone, and (b) not coming off as a drunken pervert with kleptomaniac tendencies, there are a few tips I’m unlikely to share in my talks.
But it’s a shame for them to go to waste, so allow me to share them with you now:
TIP 1: Drink. I’ve seen a quote attributed to Ernest Hemmingway, and while I’m not sure he really said it, I agree with the concept: “write drunk, edit sober.”
You’d be a pretty crappy writer if you could only perform with a fifth of Jack in your system, but there’s a benefit to occasionally subduing your internal editor. I can spend an entire day producing a handful of polished pages, but my output quintuples that evening if I sit down with a glass of wine. Why? Because I let the words flow. Because I’m not stopping every five seconds to mull whether “licked” or “laved” is the better word.
Even if the sentences you produce are mostly gibberish, it gives you a skeleton to use for the prose you’ll produce when you stop guzzling bourbon.
TIP 2: Steal ruthlessly. If I find myself hopelessly stuck in a manuscript, I’m not ashamed to pick the brains of loved ones and steal their good ideas. When I hit the middle of my debut novel MAKING WAVES, I was still struggling to figure out what made my heroine tick. I lamented this one evening at a dinner party. “I can’t even decide what she does for a living,” I whined to a friend. He began listing random careers, and something clicked in my brain. “Oh – not one of those things, but all.” And that’s how my quirky, job-hopping heroine started to come together in my mind. (No, not that kind of “come together” – that doesn’t happen until later in the book).
TIP 3: Thou shalt lust. I write romance, so it’s my sworn duty to ogle as many men as I can. It’s research, right? And if I find myself staring at a picture of a scruffy looking Daniel Craig and pondering how beard burn would feel against my stomach, it’s possible those thoughts will find their way into my manuscript. You do what you’ve gotta do to infuse your writing with the right amount of sexual tension (unless what you’ve gotta do is chain Daniel Craig in your basement as your personal sex muse, in which case you might want to check with your spouse first).
So there you have it. The inappropriate writing advice you won’t hear me share with any writers’ group.
Got any tips of your own to share? Leave it in the comments. I have to go