6 Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck and 16 Great Links

John Steinbeck

Happy Friday Lists and Links!

These 6 Writing Tips From John Steinbeck were culled from a Facebook post by Justine Musk. She always finds the coolest things to share with everyone so, I thought I’d share it further…with all of you.

1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewriting in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.
3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.
4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble was because it didn’t belong there.
5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.
6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.
So, what do you think of Steinbeck’s list? Which ideas do you find disagreeable and which are helpful?

I have some great links for you to explore.links

On Writing:

1. Author Diana Gabaldon discusses with the Authors Road why the writing and scientific process are two sides of the same coin, and her interesting experiences as the creator of a wildly popular series of novels that fall into a dozen genres.

Before she became a novelist she wrote Scrooge McDuck comic books and articles for computing publications. She was the founding editor of Science Software Quarterly, garnered a BS in Zoology, an MA in Marine Biology and a PhD in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology, and was a professor at ASU for 18 years.

Note: This video is absolutely fascinating and worth the time. Savor it when you have 30 minutes free time to learn what she has to share.

2. Brian Clark of Copyblogger has a list of 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly.

3. Elizabeth Spann Craig, Mystery Writing is Murder, tells us why Protecting Our Writing Time is important.

4. Elizabeth Spann Craig ‘s Writing Multiple Books a Year-It Doesn’t Take As Much Time As You Think empowers you to think, “I can do this, too!”

5. Amy Sue Nathan guest posts on Nicole Basaraba’s blog on The Women’s Fiction Mystique, continuing Nicole’s series on genre fiction.

6. Violeta Nedkova, aka Lyn Midnight, has an idea to bring a variety of talented creatives into a media mix-up in one place currently titled The Big Anthology.

On Marketing and Publishing:

1. The always brilliant Jane Friedman offers the definitive word on author platforms in her post,  A Definition of Author Platform.

2. Cynthia D’Alba, a guest at Writers In The Storm, gives us a peek into the successes and pitfalls of blog tours in her post, Blog Tours, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

3. The fab Jami Gold asks the question, ‘Do readers really care about the quality of writing?’, in her post, Who Cares About Quality Writing Anymore?

4. Sour grapes abound as Amazon builds their business of indie publishing, an article from the New York Times, Amazon Rewrites The Rules of Book Publishing.

5. In Justine Musk’s post, How To Be an Original, she explains in her masterful and unique voice, The Four Qualities of a Compelling Creative Voice.

6. David Gaughran’s guest, Sarah Woodbury, share her sales figures for four months after deciding NOT to participate in KDP Select in Profiting Outside Amazon.

Just For fun: A Sampling of Book Trailers

1. Book Trailer for “Sweet Enemy” by Heather Snow, a Regency Historical Romance from Penguin/NAL Signet Eclipse in February 2012.

2. Stolen Prey by Lindsay Mawson, an Indie eBook thriller.

3. Catherine Dixon is everyone’s dream girl. Girls want to be her. Men want to be with her. But is perfection a mask for untold disaster? check out Pandora Poikilos’ trailer for Frequent Traveller.

4. Crossroads, a fantasy by Mary Ting.

Do book trailers help you decide whether to purchase a book?

One trailer was done by Penguin Publishing. The other three were done by the indie authors. How would you compare the indie trailers to Penguin’s?

Are you planning a trailer for your books?

There was so much rich content available these past two weeks  with regard to writing, marketing and publishing. I hope you find  some of it helpful and interesting.

Have a fabulous and safe Saint Patrick’s Day tomorrow!

You know I love hearing from you!


19 thoughts on “6 Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck and 16 Great Links

  1. “Rewriting in process is usually just an excuse not to go on.” So true. I’ve finished my first novel, and am working on final revisions, but with the second novel I’ve been so much more uptight. I realize that ignorance the first time around was bliss and my writerly knowledge can, at times, impede me. Looking back, I also realize that receiving my first rejections (good ones, but rejections nonetheless) impacted my forward momentum. I began to second-guess myself and my process. Only after participating in energizing plotting sessions with my writer gal pals these past few months have I regained my confidence and desire to move forward, come what may. In fact, I’m writing two books and plotting a third, which happens to be completely out of my chosen genre. The writing beast within me has been unleashed. Woohoo!!!!

    • That’s so exciting, Jolyse!! How do you keep 3 books straight? I wish I had begun my first book before I learned so much. I’m so stuck it isn’t funny. so i turned to short stories figuring I could get something on the market faster and then I’d go back and figure out what to do with my book. Now I’m rethinking my genre…ugh! I just have to get back to it and finish something.

      Can’t wait to see your 1st published! I’ll be in line to read it!

      • My advice, as far as the genre, is not to worry about it. Write your story, to the best of your ability, and then see where it fits. As for keeping three stories straight, I actually find it easier to write them simultaneously. If I get stuck on one, I hop over to the next and then the first one will clamor for attention eagerly pushing new ideas my way. Speaking of which, I have to get back to my stories. Hang in there. Be true to yourself. It will happen. (Don’t push to market before you’re ready.)

        BTW, thanks for your vote of confidence. I look forward to the day I’m officially published, too. 🙂

  2. Yet another great list of links that I wish I could sit and just read all of them. Darn time management! I have decided Steinbeck’s advice to just write the first draft as fast as possible is a great one. I took forever to write my first draft (not really, about a year) but now I’m rewriting a lot of it, and I’m wishing I hadn’t taken so long before. If I’m going to rewrite, I might as well get the first part done quickly! Oh well, it was my first draft of my first novel. Live and learn 😉

    • You are not alone, Lara! I’m not finished after a year and now I’m considering a different path. Ugh!
      Just take one link that sounds interesting and read that….it’s hard to balance it all. Again, you’re not alone! Misery loves company, right? 🙂

  3. I feel like a dunce. I did not know book trailers existed. I have so much to learn and you my friend are a great teacher. By the way. I really liked the trailer for Crossroads.

    • You are not a dunce! Book trailers aren’t all that common yet. In fact I saw my first one on Joanna Penn’s blog last year when she was launching her first book. Some people say they’re a waste of time. I say it’s up to the author. The Crossroads was a good one. Thanks, Ali.

  4. Fantastic tips and links, Marcia. I’m not a big video-watcher, particularly when it comes to the net. That said, I do have plans for a book trailer. I love the creative process involved and feel it’s a valuable way to promote and share our work. Also helps to have kick-butt, talented filmmaker friends. 😉

    • I can only imagine how incredible your trailer will be! Knowing so many talented people sure will help. I wonder if there are awards for book trailers?
      Some people say they aren’t much help in promoting a book and others disagree. I’d do one just for the fun of it, whether it helped sell my books or not. Thanks for coming, August.

  5. Awesome!!! I am in the process of editing.. annnnd.. in the process of writing my “zombie novel” – I love to free-write. it is so, well, freeing!
    Great tips, Marcia.. thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

  6. Wow! How did you find time to read all those awesome links?! You’ve been surfing pinterest again haven’t you? LOL

    I’m definitely coming back to check out the writing links, I know I need to spend more time on those sites. And what a cool find to talk about Steinbeck’s tips. I would’ve loved to do a project like this in school. Now I want to go to back and take my writing classes all over again!

    • Nope, totally off Pinterest 😦 .With the links, sometimes one leads to another and sometimes someone I know mentions an idea and I go surfing for more info. I couldn’t believe how many fantastic ones there were this week on writing and publishing!
      Steinbeck’s cool, isn’t he? 🙂 Thanks, Jess!

  7. Marcia, I love that list, especially the unconscious flow, which is how I tend to live my days, LOL. Huh? What?
    Will definitely take in that Diana Gabaldon clip. Which reminds me, I still have a TED clip featuring Elizabeth Gilbert to watch.

I love it when you tell me what you think!

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