June 30 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Winston Graham (1908), Czeslaw Milosz 1911), Harry Blackstone, Jr. (1934), Assia Djebar (1936), Jose Emilio Pacheco (1939), David McPhail (1940), Ahmed Sofa (1943), Daniel Goldhagen (1959), Adam Roberts (1965), Dinaw Megestu (1978),

Czeslaw Milosz won the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Quote: “Don’t think about how your characters sound, but how they see. Watch the world through their eyes – study the extraordinary and the mundane through their particular perspective. Walk around the block with them, stroll the rooms they live in, figure out what objects on the cluttered dining room table they would inevitably stare at the longest, and then learn why. Be generous to your characters: kill them, save them, break their hearts and then heal them. Stuff them with life, emotions, histories, objects and people they love, and once you’ve done that, once they are bursting at the seams, strip them bare. Find out what they look like—how they stand, talk move, when they have nothing left. Now put them back together, fill them once more with life, except now leave enough room for the reader to squeeze their own heart and imagination inside.” – Dinaw Megestu

Tip: In dialogue, try to avoid the “But as you know…” syndrome. If the reader should know it, then you should have had it in before this.

Jumpstart: Open any magazine to a picture and write a paragraph about what is happening or what is being advertised. You’re trying to describe this to someone who can’t see it. Be specific.