3 minutes -Writing Tips: Cory Doctorow

In just 3 minutes, Cory gives a handful of useful tips for writing:


these include:

  • write 250 words a day (approx 1 page) and that will be the length of a novel, over a year
  • train yourself to write anywhere and everywhere, resist developing a particular place and circumstances before you write
  • write even when you don’t feel inspired, because months later, looking back, he found he couldn’t tell the difference between when he FELT he was being inspired and when he felt he was writing rubbish.  His conclusion: in the moment, I am not able to judge if what I’m writing is excellent – so write anyway.  (This was in another video)
  • each day he ends his writing in the middle of a sentence, so next day when he starts, he has a simple sentence to finish, not having to start of by being hugely creative
  • he writes so the protagonist is always fighting a difficulty, gets into trouble through no fault of his own, chooses the most dangerous way to resolve it – and things get worse.  That way, it has a strong resolution.
  • he doesn’t plan everything out in detail, describing himself as a “pantser” ie someone who writes by the seat of his pants – BUT he does know key places/situations he wants to travel through in the book
  • he snatches the tiny moments to write – when travelling, or waiting for anything (including while his own book extracts are being read out in a foreign language, when abroad)
  • don’t get distracted by facts you need to check or something you tweak to get right: type in TK (meaning facts later “to come”) when you vaguely know something needs to happen there  or FCK (fact check).  So, for example, he quotes “he confronted the Brooklyn Bridge, all TK feet of it”.  You don’t pause to fact check, you keep on writing the text – then later when you come to research time, you search the document for TK and FCK and then find the length of the bridge.  But IF you go to find it out while writing, the whole day’s writing may get lost in fascinating other trivia pieces found out while finding the length of the bridge…..  He casually says these capital letters are journalistic practice – they don’t usually appear in normal English so wherever the computer finds them in a script will be a note for future checking.  Such useful knowledge!!

Let me know:

Which of these tips sounds most useful?  Have you tried any? (I’m keen to try the TK lettering as I find online searching hugely distracting).







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