I’m not much for writing advice, to be honest. It’s useful up to a point; good to know the ropes, so to speak… But then you write something that you know is right, the same way you know that a rose is a rose, or the way you can tell that you’ve bowled a strike the second the ball leaves your hand.* But your little burst of genius has adverbs, loads of them, or it starts with someone waking up, or the punctuation is nonstandard, or or… But it’s right. So screw Stephen King** and all those other advice peddlers. STET, motherfuckers.
On the other hand, while general advice usually sucks, sometimes people have good questions or suggestions about a specific story, and they help you make the story better. So it’s good to listen to them and make the necessary changes. So here I sit revising a story, which will be published in November, with the suggestions of the kind and intelligent editors at Shimmer.
Which brings me to my own word of advice! It’s not even advice, so much, just a thing I enjoy that works pretty well for me, so I’m sharing it.
Writing something long and moody? Need to get yourself in the right frame of mind? Well, make yourself a nice playlist, and you will always have a way back into your story-brain-space. And it’s fun!
Here, I’ll share: this is my Devil Moves playlist on Spotify. Will you like it? I don’t know, but I do, and it makes me feel this story, even when I’m revising it a year later. So I can get it right.
Or like you know a chicken-of-the-woods when you see one. I found this behind a friend’s house recently and I’m including both because I was so excited about it and because they say it’s good to include a photo in your blog post, adds interest, so to speak. I could tell you about my life, my diss and my job and stuff like that, but I don’t feel like it today and I’ve got revisions to finish, so until November… may all your mushrooms be correctly identified, and all your sentences land as solid as a ball in a catcher’s mitt, with a satisfying smack.
*I’m not a good bowler, but it’s happened now and then
**I actually think Stephen King’s On Writing is pretty good, as a memoir or personal meditation especially, but even he doesn’t follow his own advice on adverbs so fuck if I’m gonna.