Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Advice from a Pro

By Julie Wright

I went to Life The Universe and Everything as a panelist at BYU this last week and got some great information. I thought I would highlight a few of the key things I took away from this conference.

*Fiction isn't fact, but it is truth. Fiction allows us each to see the truth based on our own experiences and frame of reference.

*All fiction is lies. Our jobs as authors is to make the lie plausible. This seems a direct contradiction to the first comment, but it's not--not really. It connects in pretty well.

*You cannot break the rules of writing until you know them, until you've practiced them, until you've earned the right to break them intelligently. -- Tracy Hickman I could not agree more. Don't get clever with tense if you don't understand tense. If you want to write, then learn the rules. Work on your craft. Breaking rules you don't understand isn't artistic, it's ignorant. Learn them.

*Where there is no story, humans create it. We think and exist in story format. --Tracy Hickman I considered all the times I've gone to tell someone anything, about an event, or a situation. I always speak in a story format. I set it up as a story. And it isn't just because I'm a writer. I've paid attention. Everyone does this. Story is undeniably linked to the human condition.

*It doesn't matter if you're published. Being published is nothing. It is everything to be read. --Tracy Hickman This is absolute truth. My first book was published by a very small press. I was published. It was exciting! But was a I read? no. No, not really. And looking back, I am glad I wasn't read. it was a first book. I was a very green author. I had no idea what the rules were. I had no idea about craft. I had a long way to go. Being published isn't really the goal of a writer. What we want is to be read. We want to enter that dialogue with the reader. We want the intimacy of pulling readers into worlds we created--even if we'll never meet those readers, even if we're separated from those readers by continents, or even centuries. What a writer really longs for its to be read. The best way to achieve that is to learn the craft and write well.

3 comments:

Kimberly said...

I caught some of Hickman's fab comments through Twitter and enjoyed every single one. Thanks for sharing them here in this slightly more permanent format where I can refer back. Love you own thoughts as well. And yes, oh yes, it really is about wanting to be read, isn't it?

Sarah E. Bradley said...

I guess that makes sense, fiction is an untruth that we make real to people, but just being published means nothing if people don't want to read our books.

Curtis Moser said...

That's an interesting perspective, Sarah. I always thought of fiction as truth packaged in make believe, instead of untruth made real. Maybe I've been going about it all wrong. :)