One of the best parts of SDSU’s Writers’ Conference 2015 was meeting Gini Koch. She was exuberant and fun (anyone who wears a pink sequinned cowboy hat to a conference has to be fun!) and very generous with her time and advice. Here’s some of her killer lines on writing:
1. There is no one right way. The right way is whatever works for you and ends with a well written book.
2. If you practise every day, you will get better.
3. No writing is wasted. Every writer has a set number of words (hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions) they need to write before they stop sucking.
4. If you write something terrible, no problem, write something else and it will be less terrible.
5. We call them drafts for a reason. Turn off that judgemental internal editor. You can fix bad writing, you can’t fix a blank page.
6. Writing is about sharing ideas via language.
7. Fact check early and often.
8. Clichés are clichés for a reason. Play with them to enrich your story.
9. People don’t read books for the world, they read them for characters. The world is there to shape the characters. If you have a world with no characters, you have nothing.
10. Let the characters tell you what they are doing and why. If your characters are alive to you and talking to you, your book will be better.
11. If characters are comfortable, they are boring.
12. Your voice is how your writing sounds when a reader reads your work either in their head or out loud. Every choice you make – POV, tense, sentence structure – is your voice.
13. Save everything you cut, sometimes you’re wrong and you need it later.
14. Sometimes you’re not ready to write an idea. You can write a scene and let it sit until you are ready.
15. Work word length to your intended market. Regardless of story length you need a beginning that grabs, a plot that doesn’t sag, and a satisfying conclusion.