A lot of author blogs focus on the writing craft and make posts about tenses, grammar, plot creation, genre, and other topics. Others go into the nuances of Amazon, marketing, and whatever else comes after you hit ‘PUBLISH’. These are very important things to know about and I’ve learned a lot. One of these posts years ago is why I can put a Table of Contents in my books. You really can avoid most of the common pitfalls by looking at what other authors have done. Just read the post and hope over the spike pit, but please make sure to drop a sandwich down to those who fell. I mean, you wouldn’t have been able to avoid the mess if they didn’t stumble first.
Now, I’ve been asked a few times why I don’t write much about the writing craft. I probably have done more than I realize over the years. Mostly, I write about character and world-building things since those are my favorite topics. Haven’t gone into much with the marketing and Amazon side. One reason for the later is because I’ve seen tons of authors tackle the challenge of explaining Amazon and most of them disappeared. There’s a real obsession with figuring out the tricks and hidden workings, but those things probably change every month. Besides, hard to write a new book or promote a published one if you’re spending most of your time analyzing Amazon.
There are a few reasons that I don’t really do a lot of craft-based posts:
- I still have trouble calling myself an expert, which is why most of my advice has a warning of ‘this is just me’. There have been many times that another author and I have used a marketing platform or the same writing trick. Yet, one fails and the other succeeds. So, I only know what works for me and I’d hate to jump on a soapbox to declare my knowledge then have people fail. I’ll write about a topic if somebody asks or I’ve figured something out, but I don’t have a lot of confidence here.
- I don’t think I write in a common enough style to give advice to other authors. Present tense third person is what I’m most comfortable with, but it means various tools don’t work for me. For example, you can’t reveal the past of a city or person in narration without it coming off very awkward. Conversations are better for information here, which I’ve been told to stop and move to narration because a few past tense authors and readers don’t acknowledge this. Anyway, I can explain my style and that’s pretty much where I stop because the rest is fairly basic like commas and foreshadowing.
- Not even sure what to talk about. This should probably be #1, but I can never tell what’s writing craft and what isn’t. Doesn’t say much about me as an author, I guess. The thing is that all of the writing classes and groups that I got involved in were about reading and reviewing. I haven’t been involved in the meat and structure of writing since high school. There were discussions about character development and story structure in college, but I remember the debates more. Well, the thing I remember most is when an author had to sit there quietly while people ripped apart your work in the name of constructive criticism. I always thought this was more to teach people how to handle negative reviews than improve, but that’s just me. The point is that I spent more time fine-tuning my own style than going over the craft basics.
- The times I ask for topic ideas, I get requests to write about world-building, specific characters, present tense writing, or fantasy. So, I believe that most people who follow this blog only want to hear about my genre and writings. I’ve been doing that for so long that I can’t even remember what I have and haven’t touched on.
Maybe I’ll figure out a few craft posts in the future, but that could be by accident. So, I’ll open the floor to authors and readers. What is the one piece of writing craft that you would like to read about? Perhaps you’ll see a comment asking about something that you know about, so interact. Let’s just have fun.