Here’s another collection of helpful content for you to sink your teeth into, featuring advice for aspiring writers from T.S. Eliot, ‘bestselling’ authors, scrapping your work, and how not to write body language. Thank you, writers, for the quality content!
When are you a bestselling author? By D.E. Haggerty
When do you become a bestselling author? It’s a question I’ve asked myself before, and one D.E. Haggarty set out to answer in her informative article.
You come across a writer advertising themselves as a bestseller. When you click on links to their Amazon listings the book has a handful of reviews but nothing to suggest it’s a bestselling hit.
Haggerty did a bit of research for the benefit of us all, comparing three definitions of ‘bestseller’ from the New York Times, America Today, and Amazon. It’s the Amazon definition which seems to cause the furore. Some authors who break into the top twenty list on Amazon, even for a matter of hours or days, claim they’re a bestseller. Technically speaking, yes. If it happened to me I wouldn’t make the claim. And this is the problem. There’s no industry standard!
T.S. Eliot’s Letter of Advice to a Sixteen Year Old Aspiring Writer by ProfessorWu for nothingintherulebook.com
I never pass up writing advice from the best, and T.S. Eliot certainly falls under that umbrella. This excellently written piece paints an interesting background behind a letter of advice the poet wrote to a sixteen-year-old writer named Alice Queen. Eliot rarely responded to any fan mail.
The letter is full of insights. Here are my favourites:
“I cannot tell you how to concentrate, because that is something I have been trying to learn all my life… All I know is that if you are interested enough, and care enough, then you concentrate.”
“The only good reason for writing is that one has to write.”
“My advice to “up and coming writers” is, don’t write at first for anyone but yourself. It doesn’t matter how many or how few universities one goes to, what matters is what one learns, either at universities or by oneself.”
Writing Tip: Scrap Your Work by KaylaAnn
A few weeks ago I may have argued against scrapping work. My approach to a draft of a story was to stick with it, re-shaping and editing until it was right. The idea of re-writing something or binning it didn’t sit right. I’ve worked hard on something, I want to make it right, not give up and start again. Like fuck am I going to waste all those hours poring over it?
Things changed. I sought brutal and honest feedback on a short story and got it. The story had major flaws and a re-write was recommended. I resisted, but in the end I saw no other option to improve the story, so I caved. I’m pleased to say it’s much better now. This article by KaylaAnn gives sound advice when facing substantial problems with stories.
“Writing is hard and scrapping your own work can really suck, but it can also be necessary. So don’t be afraid to toss those sentences, paragraphs, pages, and yes, even chapters!”
How Not to Write Body Language by Nicole Grizzle for letterpile.com
Humans communicate so much through actions, some pre-meditated, some inadvertent. As authors, revealing the emotions and thoughts of characters through body language is a great way to add extra layers to a story. But it’s important to understand body language and its many cues.
This article sets out what not to do, and the advice is golden. I’ve fallen into some of these traps, like being too specific, overusing character habits—annoying for readers—and telling instead of showing.
It inspired me to go off any buy a book on body language, which I did for a whopping three pence at Amazon. Here it is, if you’re interested: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0859697827/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1