Mister Peace, one of the earliest friends of this blog, has passed me a meme-disseminated award: A Roar for Powerful Words. The award was created by The Shameless Lions Writing Circle to spread awareness of good and powerful writing on the Internet.

Thanks Mister Peace, for your positive feedback on my last post and the award.

The rules are really straightforward:

1. Link back to the person that tagged you in your post.
2. List three things that you believe are necessary to make writing good and powerful.
3. Tag five other people via comment.

This puts me in a little bit of a quandary as, only having placed two stories (only one of which is actually out at present), I really don’t feel qualified to provide writing advice. But as I’ve been asked here goes:

1. You write: No, I’m not being funny. There are no short cuts. Writing powerfully, writing funny, writing scary, writing sad, writing romantic, whatever: it still comes down to putting one word in front of the other. There are no shortcuts. And, unless you’re a genius, it takes time to become good. Hell I’m still trying. It helps if you enjoy the journey

2. Be brave: You’re going to make mistakes. Some embarrassing, some funny but, if you put your heart into it, all honest.

I wrote from a very young age, and pretty consistently, until I was around thirteen then I stopped. For most of my teens I barely wrote anything aside from the occasional angst ridden poem and a very derivative screenplay. I didn’t stop having ideas, indeed I recently cleared out three shoeboxes full of my teenage ideas from my parent’s house, but I was too scared of making mistakes to do anything more. I lost ten years through that. Ten years when I could have been doing one of the things I love most.

Probably the best example of fearless writing I can think of is Neil Gaiman, a man who doesn’t have a problem making mistakes. If you’ve ever read Sandman you may have noticed how about six issues in there is a noticeable change in the quality of writing. The whole series jumps up a notch. That’s Gaiman finding his voice for the series, that’s him slipping into gear – what’s gone before is a very public experiment and he’s made mistakes. But it doesn’t stop him and the results are frankly breathtaking.

So don’t stop writing because you’re scared what people will think, don’t stop because you’re scared it’s not any good, don’t stop because you think it’ll never sell, don’t stop period. The minute you do it’s game over. As cheesy as it sounds you really do have to be in it to win it.

3. Care about what you write: The line used to be – write what you know. Basically that’s bollocks and will lead to writer’s block faster than a greased whippet chasing an overweight rabbit. Rather than writing what you know, you should write about what you care about. Whatever floats your boat. If you want your words to have power, for them to resonate with the reader, to make the audience ask questions or to play with their emotions. If, in short, you want that all-important “Wow!” you must not just go through the motions, you have to care about each word. After all if you don’t care about them why should your reader?

Here are my nominations: Greg O’Byrne, Strugglingwriter, Fracas, The Midnight Express and, in the vain hope it’ll bring her back to the blogosphere, Joey Moggie.