One of my New Year resolutions was to put something back into the writing community. I feel as if I have taken my fair share of late. But what can I do? Some people might laugh but despite having had six books published, I don't know anything about writing.
I don't even write by the seat of my pants. It's more primal than that. Recently I read a wonderful article by Margo Lanargan in Newswrite (the magazine of the NSW Writer's Centre) about writing from the gut. Everything fell into place for me then. Aha... that's how I do it. I write what feels right in the bottom-most pit of my stomach. There's a pile of words down deep under the mush and that's where I find my stories.
Unfortunately that doesn't make me very good at passing on my tips and methods to others. Nor does it promote personal writing growth. So I have designated this my Year of Spit and Polish. I am going to learn to become a much better writer. I'm going to do this by soaking up absolutely everything I can find on the subject and reading widely outside my comfort zone. Strangely enough, I started this with a tentative step from Neil Gaiman to Edgar Allan Poe (okay, it was a desperate leap with my eyes closed) only to find my comfort zone is moving with me. Already my writing has expanded its horizons and perhaps I even found a tip Tip #1 Read outside your comfort zone. Immediately.
So I thought as I charge through the year spitting and polishing, I would spend Friday sharing where I had been and what I found. Today I downloaded Richard Harland's Writing Tips. This is an extensive free resource. Yes, free. 170 pages packed with advice, information and anecdotes from the author of Worldshaker and a long-timefavourite of mine, the Ferrin trilogy. Richard is a survivor of 25 years of writer's block! More about Richard here. Download the document here.
I love the wonderful sit-across-the-kitchen-table-from-me style. Writing Tips is definitely a writer's manual - all the good stuff is in there - but it is obviously wrtten by an excellent writer who's been down the road he's talking about. It's both interesting and educating to read.
And when I found Edgar Allan Poe on p7... I had to smile.
My first Friday Website for Writers is Richard Harland's Writing Tips.