Writers’ Advice on Writing

black cat holding persons arm
Photo by Ruca Souza on Pexels.com

As with so many of my posts, this one is inspired by an article I read. In this case, the article shares advice on writing from famous writers. I don’t know about anyone else, but what I find most valuable about advice from other writers isn’t necessarily the advice itself (although it’s often helpful) but the chance to bond over writing, and to affirm that I’m doing something right. Whether you enjoy the advice, the bonding, or the affirmations, here are some of the best tips from other writers, as well as a couple of my own…

Get a Cat (Muriel Spark via her character Mrs. Hawkins, from A Far Cry From Kensington)

As someone with three cats, I can’t argue with this advice 🙂 Cats are a source of joy, laughter, and purrs (and my lap cat makes sure I sit and focus). If you’re not a cat person, you might want to consider bunnies or small pets (rats, mice, hamsters…) They’re equally good company and shelters always have many available for adoption.

Stop While the Going Is Good (Ernest Hemingway)

Stop while you’re on a roll and let your subconscious keep working on it until you start again. The best way to write is to not force it.

Writing Anything Is Better than Nothing (Katherine Mansfield)

Just write. The more you do it, the better you get, even if what you’re writing will never go further than the paper/screen it’s on.

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Some advice of my own:

Keep the TV, music, and internet (if you can) off. Some people can work with distractions; I’m not one of them. But even if the noise doesn’t bother you, words, phrases, storylines, and even rhythms can burrow into your subconscious and end up in your work. That can happen anyway (it’s just part of the fun of having a brain!) but why increase the risk?

Take up needlepoint. Or any craft you can easily do while staring at a computer screen. Crafts that occupy your hands while your mind is free to focus elsewhere are great for writing.

Take an editing class. Not that you should edit your own work, but you should be able to polish it before submitting it anywhere. No publisher is interested in a manuscript full of errors (it’ll also help with other things, like work emails and social media posts).

Do you have writing advice to share? What tip has helped you most as a writer? Let me know in the comments…

 

Tooth & Claw, free short story by Aspasia S. Bissas

Download your free copy of “Tooth & Claw.”

Mara, Dominic, and their fellow vampires arrive in Marseille, France in 1909, only to find another predator already on the loose. As the city tries to cope with a killer stalking the streets, Mara struggles to separate memory from delusion. Can she find peace when the past is haunting, the present overwhelming, and the future hopeless? Inspired by real events.

Tooth & Claw is a standalone story set in the Love Lies Bleeding universe.

Also available free at Barnes & NobleApple BooksIndigo, and other online book retailers.

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Art and Writing

Art and Writing, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

I recently came across an article about how art can improve your writing.  I was intrigued; as an art lover, I was excited to find out how one obsession could affect the other. Unfortunately, the article didn’t offer anything particularly insightful.

Some of the advice was good, if basic: “Show Don’t Tell,” “Find the Humanity,” “Copy the Old Masters…Then Find Your Distinctive Style.”

Some was puzzling: “Keep it Interesting.” Well, yes, that’s the idea–I doubt any writer is deliberately going for a boring story.

The worst advice, IMO, was this: “Make it Beautiful: This is the greatest lesson to me. Artists – first and foremost – aim for BEAUTY. As a writer, don’t forget to reach for the beautiful in your imagery, language, story, even characters… ”

No. Just no.

Some artists strive for beauty and create masterpieces. Some explore the ugliness of the world and do the same. Never mind the sheer subjectivity of a concept like beauty, if all art were “beautiful,” how dull would that be? And writing is no different. Writers who aim only for beauty not only won’t be able to “Keep it Interesting,” but will also lose most of the humanity they’re supposed to be finding. Focusing on what’s lovely is the best way to miss what’s interesting.

So, can art help your writing? I think so. Creative and artistic pursuits are complementary; the more you immerse yourself in art and creativity, the more inspired your work will ultimately be. I also believe there’s one key rule that applies universally: do it with passion, or don’t do it at all. If you have a burning desire to tell a story (compose a song, sculpt, sew, whatever), then that’s what you should be doing. If you think it would be a neat hobby to try in your free time, then great–have some fun while you pursue your real passion. But if you’re meh about what you’re doing (maybe you’re motivated by ‘should’ rather than ‘must’), the results will reflect that. The people who are great at what they do have passion for it. Find your passion and go be great.

If you’d like to read the original article, you can find it here. What do you think? Do you have any tips for how art can improve writing (or vice versa)? Share in the comments.

Don’t forget to get your free copy of my new short story “Tooth & Claw,” a dark fantasy story about memory and delusion, violence and consequences; inspired by real events in Belle Époque France. Available here and at most online booksellers.

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

End-of-the-Year E-Book Sale

LLB EBook Sale

The hustle and bustle is over (for a few days, anyway) and it’s the perfect time for relaxing with a book. Now’s your chance to get Love Lies Bleeding in the ebook format of your choice for only $1.50! Sale ends January 1.

Love Lies Bleeding quote by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

And don’t forget to download your free copies of Tooth & Claw and Blood Magic!

free short story by aspasia s. bissasTooth & Claw, free short story by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This link takes you to all three books (just scroll down to see them).

Cheers and happy reading,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Sale!

Book Sale: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, and Tooth & Claw by Aspasia S. Bissas
Get all three for only $1.50! Click photo to buy now…

Another year has gone by and what better way to celebrate than with books? Smashwords’ end-of-year sale starts 25 December 2019 and runs through 1 January 2020.

Get Love Lies Bleeding for only $1.50!

Get Tooth & Claw and Blood Magic FREE!

 

Avoid family arguments– curl up with some hot chocolate or eggnog and a good book or three. ‘Tis the season!

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Weekend Reading

Weekends are made for reading, aren’t they? There’s not much that’s better than getting lost in a story and ignoring the outside world for a while. One of my favourite parts is picking what to read next. If you’re in the mood for something with bite, check out my new short story Tooth & Claw. It’s inspired by real events and is free to download…

Tooth & Claw, free short story by Aspasia S. Bissas

Mara, Dominic, and their fellow vampires arrive in Marseille, France in 1909, only to find another predator already on the loose. As the city tries to cope with a killer stalking the streets, Mara struggles to separate memory from delusion. Can she find peace when the past is haunting, the present overwhelming, and the future hopeless? Inspired by real events.

Tooth & Claw is a standalone story set in the Love Lies Bleeding universe.

Available FREE at SmashwordsBarnes & NobleApple BooksIndigo, Kobo, and other online book retailers.

As for myself, I’m currently reading (and enjoying) My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel. If you suffer from any kind of anxiety or panic disorder (or even if you don’t), you’ll find this book both fascinating and insightful.

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

PS: Don’t forget to leave a rating or review after you’ve finished Tooth & Claw!