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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

HELPING WRITERS WITHOUT HINDERING: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Recently, I helped myself out by refitting the office and turning it back into an office. The workspace gradually deflated around me and turned into a nightmarish place to navigate.
   Salvador Dalí took charge. I sent him to live on Mars. Free holiday. Things are back to abnormal.

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Even more recently, a writer came to me backstage and asked for help. I offered help. That doesn't mean I helped. It means I offered information that worked for me AT THE TIME.
   Hints, tips, help...
   If these things work for me at the time of asking, you get those things packaged as advice. Business advice on writing changes with the weather, and is not solid. Rely on it while it works...
   Dot dot dot.

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But I must add this.
   Use the advice that works for you. I may offer formatting advice that is dead and done once Amazon drops support for a particular format. And that is what it is. Time-stamped aid.
   Advice rises and falls with the tide, true.
   When it comes to solid writing advice, your basic solid writing advice is timeless. Put the hours in. Read all kinds of stuff, and do more than just the reading.
   Did I mention coffee?
   When it comes to the writing, do the writing. No shortcuts. Write the bad stuff. Stop writing the bad stuff. Keep going.

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So what is the advice on giving writing advice? Don't hinder. In giving advice, ask questions. And after giving that advice, ask questions of yourself.
   I hope I avoid hindering writers who come to me for help.

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Then...another writer put material out there for comment and modification. I went backstage and ran through the manuscript.
   You spot formatting glitches, and gradual inconsistency sneaks in...so you want to nail all that...
   Anyway. Writers actively come to you for help, and you do what you can. Other writers reach out to the whole audience, and if you can help from your seat eight rows back...go for it.
   Though I recommend going backstage, even if you are at a public event. A professional approach stands more chance of getting through to a truly busy person.
   I was thanked for my hints and tips. My views. But I asked a load of questions in reaching the point at which I decided to offer those views.
   We all steer our submarines through the murk of the internet. It's better to up-periscope and take bearings...than to lie on the bottom of the sea, running out of air.

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Also, did I mention coffee?
   The alternative is tea, if you'd rather secure your caffeine intake without relying on the taste of coffee.
   And there's chocolate. Coffee. Chocolate. These things will aid your writing. Your superpower is storytelling, and your secret origin is being exposed to magical levels of coffee and chocolate.
   I don't give advice on superhero costumes. Me? I'm with Edna Mode. No capes, dahling.


  

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