In conjunction with the publication of his new book, Good Prose, Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author, Tracy Kidder and editor, Richard Todd hosted ‘Good Prose Month’ on Biographile.com in January 2013.
Here are 10 writing tips from the author and the editor.
- To write is to talk to strangers. You have to inspire confidence, to seem and to be trustworthy.
- It is always prudent to remember that one is not Tolstoy or Dickens.
- Don’t concentrate on technique, which can be the same as concentrating on yourself. Give yourself to your story.
- The reader wants to see you trying—not trying to impress, but trying to get somewhere.
- For a story to have a chance to live, it is essential only that there be something at stake. A car chase is not required.
- Try to attune yourself to the sound of your own writing. If you can’t imagine yourself saying something aloud, then you probably shouldn’t write it.
- The creation of a style often begins with a negative achievement. Only by rejecting what comes too easily can you clear a space for yourself.
- Use words wantonly and you disappear before your own eyes. Use them well and you create yourself.
- The best work is done when one’s eye is simply on the work, not on its consequence, or on oneself. It is something done for its own sake. It is, in Lewis Hyde’s term, a gift.
- Be willing to surprise yourself.
Answer all these questions and you should have a fully-developed character for your audience to connect with.
A strong character can carry a weak plot; but a strong plot can’t carry weak characters
I didn’t know I needed this.
*Rubbing this all over my face*
just gonna add this to my growing list of character memes saved to my external drive
in time for nano prep!
Taking the “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” to a new level: A look at “Every Day” be David Levithan.
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
With his new novel, David Levithan, bestselling co-author ofWill Grayson, Will Grayson, andNick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.
Mild Spoilers Ahead!
Let me begin by saying this: Every Day has one of the most interesting and engaging concepts I’ve ever stumbled across in a book. The entire idea of having a character like A, each new day in a new life, is super super intriguing and is easily the strongest part of the book. The diversity that this concept creates is thrilling. Boys, girls, cis, trans, straight, gay, bi, black, white, hispanic, asian, english-speaking, spanish-speaking, thin, large, disabled, athletes. You name it, A probably lives a day like that.
Now, that being said, I have to say that I was a little disappointed by the….rather…saturating focus of romance in this book. I know, I know, it’s a love story. But a 16 year old love story seems like a rather limited way to explore this rather unique concept is all I’m sayin.
I’d also argue that, despite being canonly and openly agender and pansexual (with some discussion on this point in fact), the romance between A and Rhiannon is framed as very….boy/girl heternormative. This is mostly due to Rhiannon and not at all due to A. Rhiannon is noticeably less willing to be romantic with A on days when they are in a female-coded body. Now, this isn’t a damning character flaw of Rhiannon, but it does sort of frame the relationship as heteronormative, at least from her point of view.
My favorite parts of the book, honestly, were the parts that had very little to do with the romance at all. The days A spends that are unique or special- the day that A lives the life of a suicidal girl and has to act to save her life by getting her help. The day A lives the life of a spanish speaking immigrant girl who has to work all day. The day A lives as a very overweight boy (though perhaps not treated in the MOST positive light, DOES comment on fatphobia.) Those days are the days that were the most interesting to me, not another A, in the body of an attractive white boy, goes on another pseudo-not-date with Rhiannon but it’s complicated!
It’s not that the romance with Rhiannon is BAD, it’s just the least interesting part of a VERY interesting concept being played out is all.
So my advice is this: If you like the sort of books John Green writes, but wish he had a more diverse cast of characters, check out “Every Day.” It’s pretty damn good.
Wanted to share this helpful tool with anyone who needs it. A lot of people have a hard time putting their feelings into words and identifying what emotions they are feeling. This is called a feeling wheel. It can help you get to the core emotion you are experiencing and help you name each feeling when you’re overwhelmed with many emotions
this is so cool