For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.
Today’s tip – Get In, Get Out. Don’t Linger. Go On.
When I was 27, back in 1966, I found I was having trouble concentrating my attention on long narrative fiction. For a time I experienced difficulty in trying to read it as well as in attempting to write it. My attention span had gone out on me; I no longer had the patience to try to write novels. It’s an involved story, too tedious to talk about here. But I know it has much to do now with why I write poems and short stories. Get in, get out. Don’t linger. Go on. It could be that I lost any great ambitions at about the same time, in my late 20’s. If I did, I think it was good it happened. Ambition and a little luck are good things for a writer to have going for him. Too much ambition and bad luck, or no luck at all, can be killing. There has to be talent.
I have become a huge fan of Raymond Carver. If I could write like anyone – I would like to write like him.
His short stories are so economical and so perfectly slightly off-kilter. Odd enough to be educational but not so strange to be twee. There is a lot of drinking in Carver’s stories, a lot of hopelessness… and just enough love to make sure most everyone is able to get out of bed in the morning.
Today’s hint is, I suppose… I hope… a key to getting that right.