Remember: a story is not a vignette. It has a beginning, middle and an end. It is not merely a snapshot in time.— Chuck Wendig
The most fantastic Chuck Wendig quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual
Speed is not an indicator of quality in terms of fiction.
That's true of one's relative slowness or swiftness - taking 10 years to write a book or taking 10 days to write a book (or a comic or a film or an angry postcard) guarantees nothing in terms of how good or how bad that story is.
Story matters. Writing is important. Stories make the world go around. Many things begin as words on a page. It matters to the world. And it matters to you. Don't let anyone rob you of that. Don't rob yourself of it, either. Don't diminish. Don't dismiss. Embrace. Create. Accelerate.
Nobody becomes a writer overnight. Well, I'm sure somebody did, but that person's head probably went all asplodey from paroxysms of joy, fear, paranoia, guilt and uncertainty. Celebrities can be born overnight. Writer's can't. Writers are made - forged, really, in a kiln of their own madness and insecurities - over the course of many, many moons. The writer you are when you begin is not the same writer you become.
Enter the story as late as you can.
Characters exist in a flat line until we challenge them - sometimes they challenge themselves, sometimes they're challenged by other people, by nature, by robots, or by fungal infections in and around one's nether-country. Stories need conflict across the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual spectra. Accidents, betrayals, cataclysm, desperation, excess - these are the letters in the alphabet of conflict.
In my mind, only one inviolable precept exists in terms of being a successful writer: you have to write. The unspoken sub-laws of that one precept are: to write, you must start writing and then finish writing. And then, most likely, start writing all over again because this writing "thing" is one long and endless ride on a really weird (but pretty awesome) carousel. Cue the calliope music.
You can feel good about failure. Failure means you did something. You finished the story even if it wasn't what you'd hoped. Failure means you're learning. Growing. Doing.
Writing advice is not the product of an equation.
"If you do X, then Y will occur" is false in this instance. "If you name a character John Q. Hymenbreaker, your book will be an instant bestseller" is crazy-talk. Writing advice is not about providing certifiable answers. It is about making suggestions.
Question the Chestnuts. Chestnuts: the new name for boobs? No. NO. Why would you even say that? Get your mind out of the gutter. No, by "chestnuts" I mean, "those old pieces of writing advice that you hear as common refrain." 'Write what you know.' 'Adverbs give Baby Jesus hemorrhoids.' 'If you write a prologue, an orphan loses his sight.' All the "old saws" need to be put on the chopping block.
Let someone else take a crack at [your story].
Sometimes, even after time has passed, we're just too close to the thing. You don't want to kill your darlings or, maybe it's the opposite: you just want to kill all of it with cleansing fire. Let someone else confirm or veto your feelings. They'll also bring new questions and complexities to the table, too.
Write til your fingers bleed.
The easiest way to separate yourself from the unformed blobby mass of "aspiring" writers is to a) actually write and b) actually finish. That's how easy it is to clamber up the ladder to the second echelon. Write. And finish what you write. That's how you break away from the pack and leave the rest of the sickly herd for the hungry wolves of shame and self-doubt. And for all I know, actual wolves.
When in doubt, the rule of threes is a rule that plays well with all of storytelling. When describing a thing? No more than three details. A character's arc? Three beats. A story? Three acts. An act? Three sequences. A plot point culminating in a mystery of a twist? At least three mentions throughout the tale. This is an old rule, and a good one. It's not universal - but it's a good place to start.
Writing relies on very few things, my friend.
All you need to write is your brain, a way to convey the story into existence (pen, computer, whatever), and a place in which to do it (office, kitchen table, lunar brothel).
Read your work out loud. Don't give me that look. Read your work aloud. Don't argue. Don't fight. It will help. I promise. I promise. I guarantee it. If you find it didn't help you, lemme know. I will let you Taser me in the face. And by "me," I mean, some other guy who will be my stand-in. Probably some real estate agent or tollbooth attendant.
Write like you write, like you can't help but write, and your voice will become yours and yours alone. It'll take time but it'll happen as long as you let it. Own your voice, for your voice is your own. Once you know where your voice lives, you no longer have to worry so much about being derivative.