Writers on Writing: Annabel Lyon

my dad said newspaper or was it before he retired a newspaper journalist him and editor and so a lot of what I learned about writing I learned from him and he's very kind of he takes a very hard-nosed no-nonsense approach to it he would always laugh if anybody referred to writing as an art for him and it's a craft it's a job you sit down and you do your job and you respect your editor and you meet your deadlines that it's a very sort of a very sort of a professional thing for him it's not some artsy-fartsy thing where you're you know sitting in a garret getting drunk wearing a pirate blouse and try to find your muse you know it's just sit down and do your job and I believe that I try and convey that to my students as well you know if you're an engineer you don't wake up in the morning and say oh I'm not inspired to do engineering today or if you're a barista you don't wake up and say you know I'm just I'm not feeling making this mocha you know it's just it doesn't make any sense a you just have to sit and do your words and do your hours and I really believe in that it's about a work ethic and that's the way you'll be successful as a writer teach creative writing in a university setting and so one of the things that comes up very very often is I'll have people coming to fiction basically they start a short fiction writers because that's manageable you know an eight-page story seems like something they can manage to do but then they want to know how to build up up up up up and get those pages and get up to the length of a novel the two pieces of advice I always give them are start with an outline I think that's absolutely invaluable with a novel if you've managed to sort of think through the various elements of your story and given yourself a bit of a road map so that you're not just in there flailing around it's like trying to swim across an ocean with no plan if you've got that outline that's really going to help you a lot and think about that outline in as much to tell us you possibly can so basically what you're doing is you're taking away decisions from yourself so that you know when you sit down at the computer and you've got that blank screen in front of you it's not oh I can go anywhere I can do anything it's it's you know I'm frozen trying to decide it's okay in the scene it's gonna be a dinner party and I know I have to have this character in this character and this character and they're going to talk about this and at the end of the scene somebody's going to reveal X you know and when you have all those parameters in place it becomes so much easier to sit down and write that's the first piece of advice the second piece of advice is stick to that outline once you've made it you have to commit to it don't let yourself change your mind halfway through if you have a brilliant idea make a note of it save that for your second draft because obviously you're not writing one draft of a novel you're going to be doing multiple drafts where you can go back and correct and we're fine so that first strap through but that first passed through that first draft all you should be thinking about is getting it finished getting the words on the page so that you've basically got like that big lump of raw clay that you've been given yourself to work with if you don't finish that draft you can keep refining your first 40 pages you've got nothing to work with you've just you don't even have clay you got nothing so I would say get that first draft out no matter how rough in one go as quickly as you can without sort of overthinking it too much and then as you revise you can go back and make it into the thing that you really wanted to

3 thoughts on “Writers on Writing: Annabel Lyon

  1. this lying Bitch cost a good man his life with her lies. she doesn't deserve her job. her lies cleared the position for her.

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