Collecting the best writerly things I’ve read this week…
Fifteen minutes of perusing the world, wide internet, will give you a melting pot of advice about clichés, all of which boils down to one simple statement: Clichés are bad. Nothing ruins good writing like clichés. It’s been said so many times, it’s almost a cliché. But…. Is it always true?
“It’s even scarier to be rejected as the author. We’re worried that when we put ourselves there, someone’s going to email us or even say something to us in person that makes us look less than stellar. This day in time, anonymity on the Internet breeds ridicule. There’s not one week when I don’t get one of these emails myself, but it’s the nature of the Internet. You have to armor yourself — you are working for the better good. You cannot please everyone. It’s like letting thousands of people know who you are and that’s a little spooky.” Hope’s advice: start small. For many authors including myself, starting “small” means promoting your book locally. In fact, promoting your book locally is crucial for building visibility.
I opened the book intending to read it as a fan,** but before long I realized I was reading a class and case study in writing. And while Hamilton is musical theater, many of the lessons scattered throughout the book apply just as readily to writing a novel as they do to writing a musical. So let’s learn from the masters.*** Here are a few of the lessons tucked into Hamilton: The Revolution. (Note: SPOILER ALERT. You may want to listen to the soundtrack before you read further. Or read a history book.)
Some books, admittedly, are abandoned because the time wasn’t right for that particular story. In that case, there is always the chance that you might return to it in the future and rediscover the spark you need to finish it. Most abandoned books, however, will remain exactly that, and you, the writer, will never know what might have been, had you pushed through those gnarly moments of despair and written The End. So what can you do about this? How do you keep going when the going gets tough? In short – how do you finish the damned thing?