The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience by Chuck Wendig
This is a book for writers who don’t have time to read a book for writers.
You can dive in and out of the book with ease. If you want to learn something about the fundamentals, the craft of writing, or about presenting your final work, just go to that section and find some tips and advice.
Wendig admits thagt his book is “just a bucket of ideas that are at least half-nonsense. A bucket of ideas that serve as tools. And not every tool is meant for every job. And not every craftsman finds the value in every tool.”
Basically, take what you can from this and apply it how you see fit. Ignore the parts that don’t fit with your methodology. And get writing.
Here are the notes I took when reading it . . .
From 25 Ways to Plot, Plan, and Prep Your Story
Write three paragraphs, each detailing the rough three acts found in every story: the inciting incident and outcome of the beginning (Act I), the escalation and conflict in the middle (Act II), the climatic culmination of events and the ease-down denouement (Act III)
I don’t normally plan or outline my stories, but I like to go back and make sure these things are apparent.
From 25 Things You Should Know About Dialogue
You can use dialogue to set the pace of your story or scene.
If you want your story to read faster, you use dialogue to move it along. . . dialogue reads easy . . . a reader gets to it, they zip forth fast, fancy and free. Want to slow things down? Pull away from dialogue. Speed things up? More dialogue.
From 25 Things You Should Know About Editing, Revising, and Rewriting
Wendig advises that you don’t start your rewrite or edit without a plan.
How do you know what to fix if you haven’t identified what’s broken?
He also suggests only fixing one thing at a time. Go through your work in progress and do a dialogue pass. Then go back and look at your use of description. Then take a pass for plot, sentence variety, and anything else you need to look at.
Tracking revisions is also important.
Keep a record of them all. . . Any time you make a revision change, mark the revision and save a new file. I don’t care if you have 152 files by the end of it. You’ll be happy if you need to go back.
And last but not least in this list, you should read your work aloud
When you read your work aloud, you’ll be amazed at the things you catch, the things that sound off, that don’t make sense, that are awkward or wishy-washy or inconsistent.
From 25 Things You Should Know About Getting Published
Even if you want to go the traditional route, Wendig suggests self-publishing one thing that might not be the best fit for conventional publishers.
Walk both paths to gain the advantages of each.
Know your story very well so you can explain it in a variety of ways.
Learn how to sum up your work in a single sentence, a single paragraph, and three paragraphs.
The publishing industry cares about genre, so figure out what you story is so it doesn’t get mislabeled or misrepresented.
From 25 Things You Should Know About Self-Publishing
Find ways to experiment with format such as “transmedia initiatives, app-novels, stories told across social media,” etc.
Do not me constrained by the formats that exist. Story does not begin and end with a physical book. It doesn’t stop at e-books either.
That was me
I bet if you read this book, you will take away different things from it. So, if you do read it, please write about your experience with it, and link to it in the comment section.
My Detailed Reading Log for 2016