To Write Like a Writer

 

Thought it might be a good idea to restart with some of these articles. Hopefully they might be useful. :.)

The first idea I had was “how to write like a writer”. At first glance, this phrase might seem a bit of a redundancy. Isn’t the definition of a writer ‘one who writes’? Well, perhaps. But we’re not referring to term papers and grocery lists. We’re speaking about career writers. Story-tellers. The ones whose novels and shorts keep you pinned to the edge of your seat. You know the ones. Their words fly off the page, enveloping you in a world you’ve never even dreamt of.

Such writers are gifted, certainly. But there are some tricks you can use to get one step closer to that magical flying-off-the-page stage. Here are the first few thoughts which come to mind. Some are commonly known. Others, not so much. Feel free to add your own.

  1. Be excited. If you are not excited, enthralled, and entranced by your own work, it’s unlikely anyone else will be.
  2. That said, if you are not excited, enthralled, and entranced by your work, scrap it (or shelve it) and move on. There are always a million ideas. Pick a different one, and run with it.
  3. In the words of a more recent One Direction music video, “First, you have to destroy your inhibitions. You first destroy, then, you create.” Don’t waste valuable writing time worrying about what the critics will think, what your friends will think, your parents will think, your neighbour, for sister’s cat. Write for yourself. Write the most marvelous, brilliant thing you can. Throw everything you have into it: your heart, your soul, your body, your mind, and some of the sugar from that treacle tart you had for dinner. The results will follow. But, first, you must destroy all inhibitions. Write freely.
  4. Make it flow. Don’t jump from thought to thought without proper transitions. Write the boring bits. You can cut them out/down later. Like punctuation, every good story needs a few pauses in the action. Otherwise, you might fatigue your reader
  5. That said, play with your reader. Tease them, taunt them, love them, cherish them. I love good plot twists, ones which build up one way only to twist at the climax (think: Dan Brown’s THE LOST SYMBOL). You have the power to do this, to build up your story and then twist in 180 degrees. Take advantage of this power.
  6. Don’t write to get published. Your writing is more likely to be awkward and forced if you do. This will sacrifice both flow and storyline. Write for yourself, because you want to, you need to, and you love it. It will show.
  7. On the same line, write what you know. Doesn’t have to be literal; feelings are just as good. If you’ve had the misfortune to feel intense jealousy, betrayal, rage, or grief, you’ve encountered versatile feelings easily transferrable to a myriad of situations. Tap into that emotion and write. Everything will come to life.
  8. Don’t ‘play it safe’. Take risks! Try different strategies. The beauty with writing is it’s very easy to change, and you can have as many drafts as you like.

 

There are a few pointers to get you started. More to come.

Happy writing! :.)

Surrender

no flight, don’t fight. just relax, and it’s over

don’t feel it, don’t hear it. he’s not even sober

go limp, go loose, let your mind disappear

and it’s over, all over. wipe off your tears

open your eyes, eyes that you don’t recall closing

what’s done is done, there’s no sense in opposing

the memory, the taste, the stench in your throat

you’re sinking, you’re drowning, but still somehow afloat

you’re gasping, you’re rasping. all the air’s gone

it’s his fault, it’s your fault. where did it go wrong?

reliving, replaying, you spiral to shame

you hate him, you fear him, you can’t remember his name

all alone, every day, you can try to move on

but you feel him beside you, long after he’s gone

while it might be better sometimes to let them have their way

no one ever warns you how the memories stay

and it’s not easy to forget, when you can’t help but remember

that night when you died, laid your arms down, and surrendered

Gas-Lighting

In the dusk of a street lamp, another words bites

And she retreats to the safety of a mind locked tight

Where his words can’t reach her, and his slaps don’t sting

The only pain she feels is the burning of her ring

And when they return home, she peaks her head out

Surveys her surroundings to see if he still shouts

But he has gone to bed, and now lies fast asleep

And so she bows her head, and alone she starts to weep

But he wakes up too soon, before the dawn arrives

And he calls her a coward, full of traps and lies

Well, she herself’s no fool, but it’s hard to make amends

With a man who only breaks, no room to squeeze or bend

And he twists all her words, and makes it seem her fault

When all she really wants is to find some way out

But she can’t ever find it, not while he still wants to play

He knows that while he’s got her, she’ll never get away

Played Like a Pack of Cards

I have no feelings; my heart’s too scarred

So I play the world like we play packs of cards

I pick out the aces and leave all the spades

You’re useless to me if you can’t be played

Let me shuffle the deck, and you’ll never know

Which cards I might hide, and which I ones I’ll throw

Before you look down, I know all your cards

And I’ve won even before the game itself starts

So don’t fight the tide. There’s no point in accusing

Me of bending rules when that you find you’re losing

I’ve laid out the game before you’ve even sat down

So, all of that said…who’s game for another round?

Cup of Joe

Every day, at six o’clock ,

Mister Joe orders his cup

Sometimes a latte, and sometimes it’s black

But you can be sure Joe will send it right back

“It’s too cold!” he’ll whine, after taking a slurp

Or it’s too hot or too white, or the smell makes him burp

Whatever the reason, he’ll be sure to find fault

Why, he’s even told me I’ve put too much salt!

He’s a customer from Hell, that much I know,

I’ve never met anyone who irritates me so!

And sometimes, of course, it grows too much to bear

The comments and conflicts don’t even seem fair

I’m not the best barista, but I’ve certainly seen worse

And a cold cup of coffee’s no reason to curse

But he’ll spit it all out and throw it at me

Snap a photo and post it for the whole world to see

And once he even went and spit on me himself!

That was the final straw. So, I went to the back shelf

To the highest nook where no one looks to see what I could find

And there I found a dark blue vial, labelled “cyanide”.

And in my pocket it sat still until the time Joe came in next

Raving mad and screaming, but I did not grow vexed

Instead I merely smiled at him, and poured his cup of brew,

Considered my conniving plot, and poured myself one, too

Waited until he turned away, then added the “cyanide”,

“Here, Mister,” I said to him, “this is one brew you’ve never tried.”

Old Man Joe just ooh’d and ah’d as he assessed this brand new taste

“Bah, girl, it’s pathetic. This coffee tastes like paste!”

Then he threw his cup right down, and flailed his limbs around

I sipped my own as his coffee seeped into the ground

One sip was all it should have taken to settle Joe right up

But one sip was all it took for me to find I gave him the wrong cup!

My eyes grew heavy and my chest felt hard and my vision started to spin

Because I’d drunk from that one cup that I meant to give to him

The Old King

I’d long grown tired of the old king’s games

So I toppled his throne, and ended his reign

It was quite the sight, to see him fall

The giant who’d once stood a thousand feet tall

The Father of Nations, the Founder of Hope

Had been unveiled, a true misanthrope

Beloved in his prime, he now lay so low

But had I done the right thing? I still don’t know.

Should I, maybe, have left things, just as they were?

Peace only comes when rebels don’t stir

And the people did love him, truly, they did

And I might have, too, when I was still just a kid

But age brings anger in hot moral flames

And youths are impetuous, quick to cast blame

On those in authority, and with strength, we strike

Banishing dictators from democracy’s light

But is this the right thing? I know I can’t see

Just how this new freedom now will affect me

I’m too naïve to know, too deaf to hear

Too young to remember kings who erred yesteryear

Too exhausted to look up, too jaded to see ahead

And too blind to recognise a foe from a friend

Quest for the Skies

There’s a pain in my chest, a sort of cramp

When I remember just how I left you like that

I thought you were special, we could work something out

But it grew too much: the fights, pain, and doubts

Did you ever really love me? Or was I a prize

To hang off your arm in your quest for the skies?

Do you know I have feelings? Did you ever even care?

Or were you just happy  to have someone there?

There’s a strange sort of feeling, an awareness per se

That I gained when I realised I can have a say

I don’t have to stay, I can leave with my pride

And when I walk down the street, I can hold my head high

But my heart keeps nagging that I’ve done something wrong

No matter how I try, I still can’t move on

I don’t have regrets, but maybe it was all my fault

You might have caused wounds, but I poured in the salt

And we might be broken, and you might not care

But if you called tomorrow, I wouldn’t be there

I’m not coming back. We’re over, I’m gone

And if you think otherwise, darling, then you’re wrong