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Learning: All the advice

Copyright reserved by E.A. Maynard 2020 ©

Write with wine, edit with coffee. Don’t let a page stay blank. Know your audience. Outline everything and fill in the blanks when you write. And the list of advice can go on and on and on.

When I got serious about writing a novel, I went into information overload. I searched every article about writing and listen to as many podcasts on the topic as I could.

What I found that I spent more time trying to learn about writing, than I did writing. The worse part of it, lots of people would contradict each other or even themselves.

One day I heard an interview with an author about how they learned to write. What he said I took to heart. The truth is, I don’t remember who it was that said it.

What I do remember is the fact that he said he got good by writing. He joked about writing little short stories, blogs, and a chapter for a book that would not go any were.

He even joked about writing letters to people. he made little stories within the letters. He just looked for ways to write. Then he found his story while writing.

At the time of the interview, he had a few books in the series that got him popular. It was interesting to listen to how he found his topics. He talked about the news and about how he searches the web for strange stories.

Then it dawns on me. I was not sure where I got my ideas from. There are all the stories I read and listen to. There are also the travels I have done and the things I have seen. But I think my first story come from my friends. We would talk about a lot of different kinds of what if events. I don’t know if you know of these kinds of conversations.

It starts with a simple question. An example would be asking what the world would be like if people could fly. This is not meant to be like flying in a plane, but like birds or superman would. It is a silly question, but what if you could go from location to location without cars, trains, or planes. So where would you go? Would people be more spread apart? What would the world be like?

This kind of thinking would leave to more questions. Some years have passed since I have been lucky enough to have one of these conversations. Then one day I started to wonder a few things and I started asking what if. Mind you it was to my cat.

She was not very good at moving the conversation forward but was a great listener. Yes, I know it was mostly just me talking to myself. That is ok, talking to my cat got me started with a story. Now I have two novels out from starting that thinking. You can read either book Bearman or Country Secrets.

Now, as I have heard from several other authors, this is what worked for me. Not what worked for me is guaranteed to work for you. This in one trick I used to get started and form a concept, is a simple entertaining brainstorming technique.

My point of telling you about what I did it to say look for stories everywhere. Mine came to me in a one-bedroom apartment with a glass of bourbon and my cat. It can come to you while walking down the street or crying in your beer at a bar. Either way, find what works for you. Just be ready to take down some notes when your idea comes to you.

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