Sunday, 21 August 2011

Free Writing Advice

Where? Well everywhere you look! In the old days you had to go to the library, put in an order for one of the few books about writing then wait for weeks until you got to the top of the queue.

Or you could buy a book, but books were more expensive then so if you were hard up you had to put up with the dog-eared, coffee stained, cigarette smelling, crumb carrying, grease marked tomes from the library. And why do people feel they have to underline things, turn over the corners of pages and even cross things out and make comments in the margins? I wouldn’t do that with a book I owned, much less a borrowed one.

But I’m sorry, that title is a shameless device to lure unsuspecting writers to my blog. Sorry unsuspecting writers!

But it is true, there is a plethora of advice on the worldly web and it’s all free. But I don’t think you can beat a writing book if you're looking for advice to be honest. You don’t want to spend all your life trawling round t’internet when you could curl up on the sofa with a book minus distractions. So that is the free writing advice in this post - buy/borrow a book about writing and sit somewhere quiet with it, away from computers and televisions.

And of course most important of all - far more important than reading about it - just do it!

There’s been a distinct lack of blogs from me lately – mainly because every time I start one I think it might be an idea for a story, so there it goes. Like the woman with the wiggly bum walking her dogs round the playing field… She would have been a perfect star for a Take a Break story back in the day, but where to put her now? I’ll think of somewhere.

Apart from that I’ve been a wee bit busy.

Apparently when he’s stopped laughing, Indy is going to write a blog. You have been warned. Laughing at me by the way, the cruel thing! It’s not my fault I tell you in advance, I can’t help the way I am. And I still have a big bruise on my leg! I didn’t laugh at him when he fell down a hole over the fields the other day, nor did I laugh when he got his shoulder into the rotten corpse of a crow!

On a writerly note, I’ve had rejections forming a disorderly queue, acceptances arriving rather more sedately and a commission after several weeks of no news at all – and all this happened while two of my granddaughters were staying here.

And my cabbages experiment – well it didn’t seem to make any difference. The posts getting the most hits are still weird. A bit like me really.


  1. Sometimes the amount of advice is a bit overwhelming isn't it? Congrats on the acceptances and the commission. Let's just pretend the rejections didnt happen shall we?

  2. How lovely to 'tune in' and there was new blog. And worth waiting for. Congratulations on the acceptances and commission, fantastic news. And the rejections - well if it's any consolation it's a comfort to us lesser mortals that if TA can get rejections . . .! Good luck with the new stories. I wish I got ideas just flowing in like that. Any help on that score from anyone would be greatly appreciated! xx

  3. Id like to invite you folks to come to Amish Stories for a recipe for "Famous Pennsylvania Dutch Sticky Cinnamon Buns" along with a book signing schedule for Amish fiction writer Wanda Brunstetter for Pennsylvania and Ohio as well as a contest to meet her. I hope everyone so far is having a great weekend. Thanks everyone. Richard from Amish Stories.

  4. Can't wait for Indy's blog - sounds like the dog get's into some predicaments!

    Julie xx

  5. Like Helen I find there is almost too much advice these days - and lots of it is contradictory!

    On the subject of defaced library books, I noticed one particular branch library now has a little slip of squared paper gummed into the back of books, headed "you may initial here". Better than people writing on the actual books, I suppose, although most of the time my own memory still runs to remembering if I've read a book or not.

  6. Ok, it's me! I seem to be getting hold of books that have gramatical errors that I just can't help correcting. I do it very neatly, but I just couldn't not do it, now could I? Sorry!

  7. Turning down the corners of books! Ugh - makes me shiver!

  8. Hey Teresa,
    The only writing advice that I truly pay heed to is from Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star.
    If only I would listen and pay attention to what she notes. Perhaps then, me, a mere human, could actually write something that's worthy of reading :)
    I've no doubt that when Indy puts up a 'pawsting'; Penny will leave one her pawsitive comments.
    Gary :)

  9. I'm much better at finding and reading advice than I am at taking any notice of it. Still anything that means I can pretend to write instead of actually writing is good!

  10. Good blog post Teresa, I love the new picture you've put on here. I just read 'lost in the fog' Take a Break Fiction Feast. Great story. I thought she was going to push him over the cliff for complaining. Glad it ended in a good way. You have rejections!!! That's hard to believe.

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  12. I'm sure there's a place for the woman with a wiggly bum out there somewhere.

  13. Glad to hear about your acceptances, Teresa! I'm sure Indy's blog will be (shh) very popular.

    As for books on writing - I'm getting rid of lots of my old ones. But I'll never part with Dorothea Brand's classic 'Becoming a Writer'.

  14. I have a stash of writing books and I agree with you, apart from anything else, staring at the computer gives me a headache too often to be relaxing. Ok, I'll move my chair back...
    Look forward to Indy writing! Flossie still writes though is generally too muddy to be allowed near the keyboard.
    Turning page corners or scribbling in the margins aaaargh! No, can't stand it, nor do I like lending books, I'd rather buy you a brand new copy than lend you mine :-)

  15. Your description of library books made me shudder - that's exactly why I'm not fond of them.

    I love a good writing book, though - and I've still got a spot ready on my keepers' shelf for when you write one.

    Yay on the acceptances and commission - and boo for the nasty Rs.


  16. Thank you, Helen – so far I’ve rewritten and sent out eight of the rejections!

    Thanks, Sue – it’s great when the ideas come in, but harder to actually force myself to sit down and do something with them!

    Thank you Richard.

    Thanks, Julie – Indy is itching to get on here, but I’ve been fighting him off. He tends to leave fur, grass seeds and biscuit crumbs all over my keyboard (oh hang on, the last one might be me…)

    It can be very contradictory, Joanne. I think what works for one person won’t work for another. That sounds like a good idea – the piece of paper in the library books – I think!!

    You’re very naughty Anonymous! If a book has me at the point of wanting to correct it, I just stop reading.

    Horrible isn’t it, Elizabeth!

    I think you’re very wise, Gary. Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star knows her onions when it comes to writing.

    Ha ha that’s true of me too, Patsy!

    Thank you, Suzy – it was going to end that way when I started writing it funnily enough! Oh yes indeedy, fifteen rejections I had in a week – I know all too well the thud of big browns landing on the mat and even the email ping when a rejection arrives has a sinister tone!!

    Comment Deleted – thank you, you’ve given me an idea for the subject of a future post!

    There certainly is, Keith. She’s wiggling round in my head at the moment and she won’t go until I write about her.

    Thank you, Rosemary. I agree with you – Dorothea Brande’s book is one of the best ever written about writing I think. I first borrowed it from the library, then I treated myself to a copy. I found I understood far more about being a writer after reading that (and I wouldn’t part with it either).

    I find I don’t get as many headaches if I’m away from the computer too, Deborah! We have to find some way of getting our dogs to stop leaving mud on our desks!

    Oh Suzanne – you do say the nicest things! I don’t think I’ll ever get that writing book finished. I started it, then moved on to something else – what I need is a writing book about how to focus and stop flitting from one thing to another!!

  17. Just to let you know that whilst I wait for your writing book Teresa, I have ordered Dorothea Brand's Becoming a Writer as you and Rosemary obviously think so highly of it. Well I can dream can't I
    :0) x

  18. You will love it, Sue - it really speaks to the writer inside you!