I have to say I have found my soulmate in the attitude world when it comes to writing. Tom Monteleone (to the left) – author of Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Novel - has wooed me into believing I can do this!
Normally, I take a fiction novel into my bath with me because it’s the only time I can read in peace and quiet. But I’ve been so hungry for this fiction knowledge that I took my how to book in there instead.
You guys will probably recognize why this resonates with me because you know my attitude in general. Take this quote, for instance:
“Would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split, and when I interrupt the velvety smoothness of my more or less literate syntax with a few sudden words f bar-room vernacular, that is done with the eyes wide open and the mind relaxed but attentive.” ~Raymond Chandler.
Oh my I love that. I’m not stuffy. If I want to split an infinitive or leave a participle dangling, I will!
I also loved the way he’s teaching me to TRUST the way I express myself. I have been paralyzed so long with fiction writing because I thought I had to adhere to the publishing norm – the standards – the expectations. There’s a right way and a wrong way, right?
No! There’s a Tiff way. Some will love it, some will hate it and some won’t care one way or another.
And Tom talks about the pompous attitude of the publishing world. YES! That’s what’s been an obstacle for me for decades. It’s kind of like the marketing world with gurus – you feel like you have to be like them to fit in. On page 170 of the guide, Tom talks about being so preoccupied with style that you worry about that instead of story!
Yes! That’s me!
I am feeling such relief reading this book. And all this time I thought I needed some ground breaking insightful course on writing. That’s what this is, but I had previously dismissed such simple titles as the basics, thinking I already knew about grammar and punctuation.
The little nuggets he’s providing for me are unchaining me from the fear and intimidation I felt going into this genre. I am so excited you can’t even imagine.
I feel like my characters are in a green room waiting for me to invite them onto my stage and tell their story. I want to finish the course so I get all of his insight before I go through it.
Oh also, little funny thing. I remember a part in the course where he mentions using “he said” after dialogue. It’s normal, don’t fret about using it. Don’t try so hard to avoid it that you constantly type stuff like, “he bellowed heartily” or “she wailed from her room.” It’s distracting.
I went back and looked at my favorite books and yep, sure enough he said/she said or s/he asked. Nothing weird thrown in but very rarely. I was one of those people he described who worked so hard to NOT seem plain, that I was shooting myself in the foot.
Such relief. Such excitement in me now about this.