I Just love having guests on my blog! They offer fresh perspective and give you a break from my voice, which must get boring sometimes lol 😉
Reads and Reels is pleased to introduce author, Hannah Lynn!
Quotes to Keep You Writing
There’s a cynical part of me that wants to dislike motivational quotes. It’s probably a left-over hang-up from when I used to wear a long black leather coat and only listened to music that hadn’t featured on any form of chart for at least two decades. But the older I get, the more I see the value in them. And, in truth, the more I use them.
“To change something, you have to change something.”
This is one of my favourites and it applies to every walk of life. Work, home, fitness levels. It puts the onerous on me to take control of my life. It is one I have reminded myself of time and time again. However, this is a general quote and what I want to talk about are writing quotes.
There are three quotes that stick with me all the time and I believe have made me be a better writer.
“If you’re not crying, your audience won’t be.”
Right, first off, I’m paraphrasing. It’s not the proper quote, but I can’t for the life of me find the actual place I first read this. Still, you get the idea and it’s true. I am working on a book now and during one scene, I couldn’t write more than two lines at a time. I was hysterical. I was blubbering. Absolutely sobbing over a fictional character that was 100% a figment of my imagination. Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because if I, the creator of this character, can’t form an attachment to them, how on earth can I expect a reader to?
“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” William Faulkner.
Now for a bit of an embarrassing confession. When I first started writing, I took this at complete face value and thought that the only way I would succeed in writing was to kill off all my favourite characters. It was a bloodbath. Well, sort of. It was certainly depressing!
It was only with shame and humiliation that I discovered that what it was asking of me was so much worse. Killing off a character is easy. It’s not always enjoyable, (see above for confirmation of this) but it easy to do. Pressing delete on a beautiful phrase that has taken months and months to perfect and now flows effortlessly from the page to the reader’s mind, that is hard. That is the real killing. This is what hurts.
“Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” Neil Gaiman.
I love Neil Gaiman. Not just his books, him. I love the fact that after four years his pinned tweet on Twitter is still his UNHCR video, because he knows that four years later it still matters. And I love this quote, because it is true.
My husband is my first reader. Before any form of editor or beta reader, my husband reads my novels first and I can’t tell you the number of arguments that this results in. Often, these start something like this.
‘This sentence here—’
‘What about it?’
‘It’s not right. I don’t like it.’
Cue lengthy pause from me. ‘No, it’s fine. It fits.’
Slight pause from him. ‘Perhaps if you change—’
‘It’s doesn’t need changing. I’ve read it. It’s fine.’
‘It’s too ambiguous.’
‘No, it isn’t.’
‘No. It isn’t.’
Cue a mutual surly silence.
‘People will get it. It’s perfect.’
‘I think the paragraph would work better without it.’
‘No it wouldn’t.’
‘You need to delete this.’
Cue another long lengthy pause, several almost identical conversations, weeks of battling and me, finally pressing delete/edit on the phrase.
This protectiveness over our work isn’t surprising, and a lot of the time these critiques hurt because of the above quotation. It’s horrible being told that the chapter you have worked on tirelessly just doesn’t flow, or that your writing doesn’t quite make as much sense as you hoped. But the fact remains, the reader is right. I’m not saying don’t get a second opinion, particularly when it is something you really love, but eighty percent of the time you may as well save yourself the hassle and cut it there and then. Just don’t let my husband know I think that.
These are my three. They may not be your three, you may not even need three. Perhaps one little line will be enough to keep you writing through that long dark evening when the words refuse to flow. Just know this, everyone draws inspiration from somewhere and everyone needs a little help staying motivated now and then. And just for good measure I’ll leave you one last extra little gem.
“A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach.
I will have the pleasure of reading and reviewing Hannah’s book Ammendments, so watch this space!
More About the Author!
Hannah Lynn was born in 1984 and grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she spent ten years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then around Asia. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction. Her first novel, Amendments, was published in 2015, her latest novel, The Afterlife of Walter Augustus, is out July 2018. Now as a teacher, writer, wife and mother, she is currently living in the Austrian Alps.