Monday, December 21, 2009

Gold in Them Notebooks: Part 14, and -- That's a Wrap.

While reorganizing my office a few months ago, I took a break to flip through the notebooks I filled during my MFA program. Rereading the notes I'd taken at faculty lectures, workshops, panels, visiting writer seminars, and graduating student presentation, I didn't want to stop. There was so much wisdom gleaned from so many talented individuals. I decided to leave the notebooks in a prominent place on my newly-neatened bookshelves, and every week or so, randomly select something to share here on the blog. As the year winds down, I'm concluding the Gold in Them Notebooks series with these random bits of advice I gathered:

• Beware the happy ending.
• When you
tell your readers, you are the only one involved in the quest. When you show them, they can participate in the quest along with you. Guess which they'd rather do?
• Memory is the mother of all muses.
• Write about what you cannot shut up about.
• When you write a story, you create a world, whether you plan to or not. So why not do it with intention?
• A sense of humor is a universal need for readers.
• At the pre-writing stage, two thoughts are usually sure signs you are on to a good thing:

1. I'd better write about that because it won't leave me alone. Or, even better: 2. Oh, I could never/should never write about that.
• When looking for prospective agents, always check the author's acknowledgements page in books that you like or that have a similar vibe to your manuscript. Authors almost always thank their agents by name.
• When writing a scene, think about the strip tease. One reveals

You can read the other 13 parts of the series here.

1 comment:

elizabeth searle said...

Thanks Lisa for all of these-- the first is a deep one-- the agent advice is super-practical; 'vibe' is the right word; love the strip-tease metaphor too!