fbpx

Silver Bullets

HOW TO KILL A WEREWOLF

A few times I’ve been asked questions such as, “If there were just one thing that I needed to know to become a great writer, what would it be?” Or, I might get asked, “If there were just one writing course that I should take, which one would it be?”

I often feel that those writers are looking for a “silver bullet,” a magical weapon to kill a werewolf.

There are several problems with that question.

1) It presupposes that there even is an answer.

2) Is presupposes that I know you well enough to figure out the answer.

There’s a lot that goes into writing. As you begin writing, you move from one plateau to another. You might start out as a rank amateur, move quickly up to nearly publishable, go on to become a bestseller or an award-winner, and hopefully even write a novel in the “landmark” category, one that is considered an all-time great.

But there are literally dozens of skills that you might need to develop to move from one level to another. Yesterday I sent out a kick that talked about roughly 60-70 things to consider when looking at your story—and it doesn’t go through them all.

THE FINE ART OF STORYTELLING

Years ago, I started my blog in preparation for writing a book, The Fine Art of Storytelling. Since then, I’ve written well over three thousand pages of advice. I’ve answered a lot of questions over the years, and to my way of thinking, there isn’t a single silver bullet in all those thousands of pages.

Instead, it’s more like an arsenal of weapons. I’ve got a few tanks, some bazookas, some anti-aircraft missiles, some fuel-air bombs, some machine guns, a few swords and daggers, and boxes of bullets—but nothing alone that will take out a werewolf.

There isn’t a single piece of information, or even a single course, that will turn anyone into a great writer. There’s just too much to know.

That’s why I recommend that if you’re going to study writing, you study with a lot of people. Each teacher has a slightly different set of weapons and strategies.

Then of course, one has to wonder, “Is there even a single piece of advice that will propel you to the next level?” Well, there might be. A lot of people develop some great skills, and if I look at their work, sometimes I will find a single thing that they need to work on.

WE’RE GONNA NEED MORE BULLETS

But the question presupposes that even if I study their work for days, I can find that information. Telling a story beautifully often requires an author to understand dozens of principles, and then to invent and develop a tale in a way that no one else can.

In other words, you bring to the writing game your own unique inspiration, insights and gifts. Ideally, as an editor and writer, I can help you get where you need to go, but there is always a bit more to learn.

Hopefully, I can help you make learn how to craft your own silver bullets.

Did you like this writing tip?
Click below to share with your friends

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr

New Writing Tips

Editor Notes
Editing

Notes from the Editor

Recently I was asked to join Baen Books, a major speculative fiction company, as a consulting editor. In order to save time for both me and for authors, I’d like to tell you what I’m searching for.

Read More »
Creative Writing

Religion in Fiction

Certain works of fiction are designed to appeal to readers with strong belief systems. But not all “religious fiction” need be religious.

Read More »

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Get Your Free Copy of Daily Meditations: Writing Tips For 100 Days

best-websites-2017-badge