January 6, 2013

Steinbeck's writing suggestions

Artichoke Annie has an interesting post up today. It's about John Steinbeck. The post lists several of his suggestions for writers. One of them is:
"If you are using dialogue--say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech."
I never do this. As I write dialogue, I hear the words spoken by the character. Each character's voice and way of speaking is unique. I truly hear these voices and I don't have to do anything special to make this happen. So I've never read dialogue aloud.

But some of the suggestions are spot-on. For instance: don't edit as you write. Just get the damn scene down on paper or screen. You can always go back and edit it. For now, you're writing.

Writing and editing are two very different things that probably utilize separate (though overlapping) brain areas. They're that disparate. When you write, you should write. After you're done, you can spend the rest of your life editing your book. Almost happened to me. Well, okay, it was just a couple of years. Still.

(And hey, there's a shout-out to Steinbeck in Xmas Carol. Let's see if any XC readers can identify it.)


Artichoke Annie said...

This is where I am making a major mistake, I keep going back and edit each time I "pick up my pen". I am stopping this right now.

I wish I could hear the voices, you are one of the lucky ones. I love your comments on writing, always.

Feel better soon.

writenow said...

Thanks, Annie! You're a peach.