That said, I do find that it can focus the mind when you’re planning
something; make you think in headlines which is never a bad
They say, for instance, that you should be able to describe any piece of fiction – in a sentence. And if you can’t? Well.
Houston: we have a problem. The same goes with a PowerPoint presentation which is why it’s a good discipline. If you can’t sum up your thinking in a nice, snappy headline… you probably need to think again.
Just now I am putting together a new writers’workshop and am using PowerPoint as a skeleton to help me focus. To be frank, I don’t even know if I’ll have a plug at my next workshop venue, let alone access to a white board. But - hey. A little PowerPoint sequence helps me concentrate, Teresa.
Today as part of the sequence I’m doing a slide of favourite/most useful writers’ quotes. The idea is to pull together the quotes that resonate most with me now that I’ve been writing fiction for around a decade. My thinking is to help new writers to zone in fast on things that I have found (from trial and error) to be really
There are so many fabulous quotes from great writers that it is proving tricky and the list is very long.
But here, for the record, are those which are fighting for top billing at the moment:
" Write with the door closed, edit with the door open" STEPHEN
" Make your characters want something right away…even if it is only a
glass of water" KURT VONNEGUT
" If nothing changes, it’s not a story..."
" A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a
song " MAYA ANGELOU
·"Being able to write is not the same thing as having something to say… " ( in translation – don’t forget to check your THEME)
" Everything stinks till it’s finished" DR SEUSS
" Check for conflict ..and check for change" ( OK- apologies; that is my quote. I pin that to my desk some days as it’s a good mantra when planning and a useful reminder when a story is not quite working)
"The adverb is not your friend" STEPHEN KING
Not a tip, this next one but a favourite to a regular question:
Interviewer: Where do you get your ideas? ARTHUR MILLER: I wish I knew; I’d go there more often
* My next workshop, by the way, is on July 20th in Ivybridge in Devon so if you’re local, do check out the details on the teaching page here:
My final quote meantime? “Powerpoint aside, I’m looking forward to it”. And if you want to see what kind of short stories are selling the commercial uk magazine market just now – do check out my collection Moments. Just click on the cover on the right of this page. All bar one of these stories have been commissioned and published by leading magazines ( and I will tolerate no literary snobbery over the market as I am both proud of and very grateful for the income stream).
As ever - good luck with your own writing.