If you’ve been following my writer’s alphabet so far, you’ll know it’s intended to be a handy catalogue of suggestions for creative writers. It’s not a list of rules (in any case, rules are made to be broken). But it might just give you a jolt when you need it.
Up to now I’ve been playing it safe, telling you all about the craft of writing: parts of speech and dialogue attribution and why you should let your characters live and breathe for themselves. But real creativity requires more than just craft. It needs just a dash of madness. Hold tight – this could get messy.
V is for Vital
You can never be sure you’ve got your reader’s full attention. Why should they be interested in your story when there’s something better on the TV, when they’re approaching their stop on the train, when they’re hungry, when they’re just plain tired? The solution is to make your story vital. Make it vital your readers keep reading, whatever the cost. Make it vital they find out what happens next. Make your reader turn off the television, make them miss their stop, make them starve, keep them up all night.
W is for Words
Love them. It’s as simple as that. As a writer, words are both your currency and your lifeblood. Learn their tricks. Learn the tricks other writers play with them. Learn their many meanings, then invent some of your own. See how words change when they rub up against their neighbours. See how they dance. Worship them, because they’re all you’ve got. Luckily, they’re also all you need.
X is for X
Write as if you’re searching for a missing truth. The answer to the unsolvable equation. That elusive factor that makes sense of the world and all that goes on in it. The ineffable. The sublime. The still point of the turning world. X. Nobody’s found it yet. Maybe you’ll be the one.
Tomorrow: Y & Z