Pat, thank you for allowing me to grace your website once again. I have to apologize for the graffiti I drew on the bus posters for your upcoming book. Oh, those were photos of Nora Roberts? I couldn’t tell them apart. I should have, because you’re much more beautiful than Ms. Roberts. Um, please don’t tell her that … I hate to be sued. Well, sued this week.
Take a look at the Internet – without stopping for cute puppy videos – and you’ll find dozens, if not hundreds, of blog posts and news items labeling themselves as the be-all, end-all guides to writing. Compare them to each other and I bet you’ll find large similarities between them all. There’s a finite amount of material these people provide, and most of it comes from sites other people have put together from other people on the web have put together that –. Well, you see what I mean.
Now come back here, because I have tremendous news. I am now going to provide the absolute, total, no-doubt-about-it guide to writing. Regardless if you’re a seasoned author or someone sharpening the last pencil in their vast collection, the following is the definitive guide to become a galactically-successful author. You no longer need to go to any other site for writing advice. In fact, you don’t need to go to any site other than Pat Stoltey’s, because she’s the most beautiful—. Right, the list. Without further ado …
1. Don’t write what you know. Let me clarify. You can write what you know if you’re a space alien ready to invade Earth, a superhero, or a super spy with a whole bunch of cool gadgets. You can also write what you know if you’re a musician/actor/artist who had a horrible childhood, gained humongous success, burned out on drugs, got clean, burned out again, got clean again, found God, and was probed by aliens. Should you be someone who’s greatest achievement is getting free premium channels when you didn’t pay for them, think about writing about space aliens, or a superhero, or –.
2. Be a snoop. Do you know how Weird Al Yankovic came up with the hit parody “Like a Surgeon?” He heard Madonna asked her friend when Weird Al would parody “Like a Virgin” with “Like a Surgeon.” You know how J.K. Rowling came up with the idea for the Harry Potter series? She watched wizards and witches run through a column on Platform 9 of Kings Cross Station. Authors need to have their eyes and ears open at all times in order to absorb a potential story idea. Just don’t put together a book of stories inspired by overheard conversations at the coffee shop. I have that gig in the bag.
3. Admit Writer’s Block is just an excuse to watch Real Housewives. Please, you’re a creative talent! Story ideas and words should be flowing through your mind from the time you wake up to the time you to bed. And, as long as strange inner voices aren’t interrupting those ideas and words, there’s no limit to what you can put down on paper. Can’t think of the next chapter for your manuscript, switch to a short story, a poem, or a letter to Bravo asking them to start a Real Housewives of Hoboken series.
4. Copy current trends. Let’s see … that means you should imitate the following themes: dystopian futures, apocalyptic futures, dystopian, apocalyptic futures, teen angst, dystopian teen angst, apocalyptic teen angst, dystopian, apocalyptic teen angst, futuristic, dystopian, apocalyptic teen angst, and cookbooks.
5. Well, maybe you should go to other sites.
Richard Keller is the founder of Wooden Pants Publishing and the Associate Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Richard has written over two thousand articles over the last three decades for various media outlets, including USA Today, RM Parent, Fort Collins Magazine, BellaSpark, The Coloradoan, and AOL TV. Richard resides in Northern Colorado with his wife and five children. In his spare time, Richard likes to read, travel, perform Improv, and sleep in a sensory deprivation chamber to get at least one minute of peace.
His latest ebook, Dining with Zombies, is available on Amazon for $3.49. Coming soon are THE Book About Squat on November 25 and Coffee Cup Tales 2: Extra Foam in December.
Chris J. Nugent says
That writers’ block tip is a great one. I just recently got turned on to that one when I diverted off my novel to write a short story while I kvetched about where my story was going. Working this into my weekly repertoire of writing, drinking, and Squatching.
Richard Keller says
Dean, I never leave the Internet. It is now tattooed into my brain for all eternity.
Eileen, Yes. However, please tell the police Dean Miller told you to it. Just make it happen after the release of his book and January’s “Her Father’s Wooden Leg.”
Eileen Goudge says
I’ve often wondered if, by having actually committed a crime (other than jaywalking) and spent time in prison, I’d have a future in writing hardboiled crime. Does this mean I should rob a bank?
John Paul McKinney says
Just heard on the noon news a segment on Patch Adams and how humor is the best medicine. Then ten minutes later I have here the very proof! I feel better already. Thanks, Rich. Wherever it’s coming from, keep it coming.
Patricia Stoltey says
Thanks for being her today, Rich. I got tangled up with a load of spam in one of my email accounts and had to change passwords and try to figure out where it was coming from. I may have to disable the email link on my website. Crazy!!!
Dean K Miller says
Oh my, Richard got loose from his leash again, didn’t he? As usual, they always return home, in this case, to Pat’s blog. Glad I didn’t have to go wandering the Internet to try and find him.
Copious notes taken, highlighting #5. Thanks for the tips, Rich.
Richard Keller says
Alex, how do you know you weren’t probed?
Margot, thanks much for your response.
Margot Kinberg says
Pat – Thanks for hosting Richard.
Richard – Thanks for your ideas. I think you’re absolutely right that writers get a lot of inspiration from being observant. I wish you much success.
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
I’m a musician, but I promise I was never probed by aliens!