Tuesday, December 8, 2015

5 Tips for How to Write a Book Like a Mother Flippin' Genius

So. I'm back in the grand ole USA.

Fun fact - I just received my marks for the chunk of manuscript I finished at my MA program and though I still have no idea how the UK grading system works, I'm told it was a very good mark! And that I maybe probably definitely have way too much cursing and that my leading lady is "bolshie."
FUNNER FACT - "Bolshie" is, according to Google, (of a person or attitude) deliberately combative or uncooperative."policemen with bolshie attitudes"
I assume it had something to do with a Bolshevik. Which I guess it kind of does, but whatever. Anyway, I'm takin' it as a compliment.

I learned a lot. I'm gonna share some garbage.

Here are some tips for how to write your book like a mother flippin' genius:

1) Start your story later than you think.
I've restarted my manuscript many times -- each time moving further into the actual plot. This is great! Usually I find it's because I spend a page or two 'warming up.' What I write here is a lot more telling than showing, but despite all that telling, doesn't include dialogue. This is dumb, because dialogue is what I'm good at. Do what you're good at right up front.

2) Do more of the showing and less of the telling.
Show your reader who your character is. Don't say she's an evil idiot (you know, instead of a genius, cause how come all evil people are geniuses? I'm basically a genius - OBVIOUSLY - and I'm not entirely evil, so you know, who knows anything at all, you know?) who's always crapping up her stupid experiments and then give us a laundry list of her failed endeavors. Show readers a vignette or two of Griselda the Idiot screwing up.

Think about the movies! Would you rather watch two characters talk about the time they tamed two bears and rode them from Alaska to Mexico City or would you rather see it? I mean, if it was like Werner Herzog and Christopher Walken I'd want it both ways, but you get the picture.

3) Share your work with others.
I ain't sayin' to share your every turd-gem all the time. But have people read what you're writing occasionally. If people are confused by what they're reading, that's bad. If people had an emotional reaction like laughing or crying or eating a second lunch, that's good! You're already a big brave bear for writing some junk in the first place, so use those newly grown claws to rip a hole through your blankets of fear and insecurity and share your wonder with the world! Make Cookie Monster proud! SHARE YOUR WRITING COOKIES! EXCLAMATION POINTS!

4) Use spellcheck.
I am an excellent speller. And I still use spellcheck. Don't ignore that little red squiggly line. And don't turn it off. It's there for a reason. It's not there for it's health. It's there to save you from yourself.
Treat spellcheck like it's your gosh-darned Wonderwall.


5) Say 'maybe' more often
What I mean is, if someone reads a scene in your story and says, "I think it would be better if Mrs. Hamsleeves didn't scream at Mr. Hamsleeves but instead threw their baby out the window to show how angry she is and then says 'oopsy baby!'" don't just say no. It's a terrible idea, but say something stupid like "I'll think about it!" This shows you have a good attitude.
And if someone has an okay idea that you're not sure about, like "I think the horse should be led to water and then drink some," say "Maybe!" And even if you don't like it, if it's not a horrible idea, TRY IT! Why not? By saying "Maybe" you look super good and are fresh and open to the world like a newborn baby on mother-effin' parade. You may even make your story better.
By saying "No. The story is MY story and no other story will be told EVER and your suggestions are terrible because of REASONS," you look like a stubborn, turd-brained newborn baby who isn't on parade, but is instead on a log flume he or she is definitely not tall enough to ride.

But if you really do hate listening to other people say anything at all about your work and just wanna do your own thing entirely, which I think is not at all genius-level thinking but honestly do whatever the flip you want, it's your ham sandwich of a life, just pretend to be slightly more agreeable on the outside. Out loud, be all like, "Maybe, dudette." And in your head just be like, "Eff that crap hurricane of a suggestion up the wiz-wang. Imma do my own thang." So you still look good. It's all about lookin' good.

That's 5 tips and 5 is a fantastic number so that's all for now, folks.
High five, everybody. High. Five.