January 21, 2008

Advice for Writers

The past few days I have been browsing websites looking for contests and magazines that accept fiction and poetry.

Granted, the state of the majority of today’s publications is ungodly. Scanning winning entries, I felt like I was going over a homework assignment in which the student, not understanding, deliberately repeated the same mistake over and over ad infinitum...

World-weary and a mite cynical, I have compiled this set of guidelines for any writers who "want to make it" out there.

-First and foremost, remember reality when you are writing. Reality can be brought into your writing through similes and metaphors that constantly kick your readers in the face to wake them up. All similes and metaphors must ultimately point to something distorted, perverted, mutilated, misshapen- or at mildest, bleak. You want to reflect real life- put their imagination in a distorting hall of mirrors.

-Good descriptions are what make a good story.

-Make them remember vividly, as often as possible, everything unpleasant, devastating, or sickening that’s ever happened to them or that might happen to them. This is called writing poignantly. It conjures up memories from your readers’ pasts and truly connects them with the story.

-It would seem that 98% of books, poems, and tv shows end in or involve a brutal murder, car wreck, broken marriage, and/or addiction of some sort. Do not propose to plot/end your book differently. After all, who would read it?

-Out of respect for the diversity of world beliefs, if your character ever happens to contemplate the existence of God, have him either a) forget he ever thought about it at all or b) decide against it by the end of the story. That last makes an especially good ending- a passionately lonely, heroic person facing reality and shaking his fist at the sky.

-If something seems nice on the surface, there must always be some filthy angle lurking beneath it. It is your job to portray this to the best of your ability. This is called disilllusioning the reader. It is the mark of a truly honest writer.

-Every teenager in the US is rebellious, furtive, and immature. Having a rebellious, furtive, and immature teenage character adds another touch of reality to your story. Show off how truly you understand human psychology by vaguely mentioning that people are "misunderstood."

-On the topic of "misunderstood," remember that this is an acceptable way out of every situation. No one understands. It’s what makes up the plot. Character A can’t understand Character B. Trying to understand is futile. "You just can’t understand." That’s where it all ends. "You can’t understand me (don’t try)." "I can’t understand you (I won’t try)." It’s useless. Ultimately, your reader will not understand you. That’s all right. They just can’t understand. No one can. It’s a profound statement. To end a scene with "You can’t understand me" and then a sigh and two people going two different ways alone and misunderstood is to end sublimely.
-However, all profound, spellbinding stories end with a character understanding- understanding that life is hopeless, that we are alone, that happiness is a myth, etc. You can come up with your own creative angle on this.

-At least main character must indulge in "apathetic revenge." This means that since no one apparently cares for him, he is not obliged to care for anyone or anything. He is justified in this because he is a victim of circumstances. There is no reason for him to change. Acute apathetic revenge occurrs when a character has been apparently forgotten by one person at least once in his life and sees no reason to care about anyone or anything. Dwell on his sorrow. Here is the ultimate hero.

-Write about how one person doesn’t really make a difference, and the utter futility of doing anything.

-Finally, brethren, whatever seems false, whatever seems dishonorable, whatever seems wrong, whatever seems impure, whatever seems ugly, whatever seems disreputable, dwell on these things because they are misunderstood.

...and God bless everyone who knows that true writing reflects reality and true Life, which is God, and which does not consist merely of a good description of death!

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Blogger The Sojourner said...


Hmmm...according to this list, I will never make it as a writer. I am misunderstood!


January 23, 2008 6:25 PM  
Blogger Theocentrica said...

No, you will never make it. *gusty sigh*
Ah, the ranks of unfortunate misunderstood....*grin*
See, the worst thing is that the misunderstood usually can't even understand each other...

January 25, 2008 4:50 PM  
Blogger Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

They can't?

January 25, 2008 10:47 PM  
Blogger Goren said...

Hello Cobler :)

I answered ur question to me over on the post where u asked. Post was called "Friday Eve" and was on a gals blog and her name starts with "D" is all I know about her.

January 26, 2008 10:21 AM  
Blogger Theocentrica said...

Laddie, I meant the people who "think" they're misunderstood...you know, the type that just want to whine that no one understands them...

January 26, 2008 10:06 PM  
Blogger Immortal Philosopher said...

Mari, you should submit the to First Things...it's a Catholic publication for things of intelligent and educated nature...My Dad said it would fit in, and we might get some university theologians to read our blog that way! (Or, so says my Dad, anyway, who seems reluctant to use the "reply" feature.)


January 30, 2008 4:36 PM  
Blogger Theocentrica said...

H'm. I'm checking out their website...

January 31, 2008 11:36 AM  

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