Monday, November 02, 2009

What to write next

I’ve heard of writers’ block, but it seems most of my clients are plagued by the question of which of their ideas to tackle next, not where to find an idea. But just in case others out there just don’t know what their next writing project should be, Colson Whitehead offers some suggestions (and a handy printable dartboard!) for novelists stuck in a rut.

Sure, he can be snarky (I balked at his assertion that thriller writers only know five adjectives), but damned if he isn’t funny. And as someone who has had some reallllly awkward dialogue written in dialect cross his desk, I admit I laughed out loud at his recommendation to “invent nutty transliterations of what you think slaves talked like.” He was kidding about that. Seriously. Don’t do it.


-Jim

9 comments:

  1. Well, at least I'm not alone in the moaning and kvetching about what to write next. It's like having to cross a river by jumping on the backs of alligators.

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  2. Love it!

    Luckily, so far I haven't had the problem of wondering what to write next. Usually by the time I'm nearing completion of the first draft of one novel, I'm gritting my teeth and telling myself not to rush through it so I can start on my next Big Grand Idea. But I'm saving that dartboard in case I ever need it...

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  3. So if I found my muse in aisle 8 of Whole Foods I *can't* write thrillers? Nuts!

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  4. "Social Realism You: A canny observer in a white suit and a fine cravat. The Culture: Just waiting for someone to explain it to itself."

    Priceless.

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  5. Excellent! Thanks for the link!

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  6. He does have a great sense of humor. And we need humor. As for me, I first spend time creating a character that I can love or despise. That can take as long as writing the first draft does. Then I develop a story in a genre that fits him or her. After that, it’s all down hill until the revisions. That’s when the hard work starts.

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  7. Damn! I just finished a 569,000 word masterpiece. Of course, you won't recognize any of those words, because it's written in nutty transliterations of what I think slaves talked like. The query will be in your inbox tomorrow.

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  8. People like to be educated about tragedies that they've never shaken their heads sadly over before.

    Hilarious!

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