It’s possible I hate your main character. Now, that might be on me. The list below? Entirely personal. And, as always, in the hands of a master, none of this shit applies. A masterful storyteller can break all the rules and make the breaking of the rules seem like that should’ve been the rule all along. Your Mileage May Vary.
Most successful full-time writers don’t one day roll out of bed, brew a cuppa joe, then tell their day job boss to eat a bucket of whale dicks and then declare themselves the President of Writerland. Start by building a resume. Write part-time. Earn some cash. Then earn more. Gather clients and publishers while also writing some material for yourself. Build to it.
The lies we writers tell ourselves. It’s a popular topic here, because as a man who has in the past been firmly rooted in the mud of his own self-slung bullshit, I think the best thing writers can do is get shut of illusions and myths and the deception — especially that which we create. Seemed high time to jack this into a “list of 25.”A greatest hits, if you will, and then some.
Setting anchors your story in a place and a time. A short story or film may hover over a single setting; a longer-form film or novel may bounce across dozens of setting. You often have a larger setting (“The town of Shartlesburg!”) and many micro-settings within (“Pappy’s Hardware! The Egg-Timer Diner! The Shartlesburg Geriatric Sex Dungeon!”).
Once in a while you’ll reach for your creativity and all you’ll find are empty shelves — but creative types do not always have the luxury of sitting on our hands until creativity decides to show its face. Doubly true when deadlines (and by proxy, money) is on the line. What do you do? You do. Meaning, you create anyway.
Here’s why this matters: because both writing and storytelling comprise, at the most basic level, a series of word choices. Words are the building blocks of what we do. They are the atoms of our elements. They are the eggs in our omelets. They are the shots of liquor in our cocktails. Get it right? Serendipity.