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Richard Davis

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Literary masterclass: How to write well


The most common concept of  "well writing" is relative. Well - for whom? One reader will find that it is written well, others will turn their noses. It's like with singers: in principle, the notes all fall, but someone you listen to as spellbound, but someone you can not stand. But he has his fans, who, in turn, can not stand your idol.

However, if it is not particularly wise, it's good to write - it's clear, clear, figurative, structurally and in the matter. So that there was something to profit the reader's brains and from which to experience sensual pleasure. The linguistic feeling is also a feeling, and it must be cherished in oneself and satisfied in others.

Therefore, first of all, the writer should have something to say. He must have a thought. In the process of writing, it can branch out and become more complicated, but the original clot must exist before the text. Or not a thought, but an image. Some kind of dense pulsating zone, prompting to fall into this pulsation. In general, desire and motivation for writing are just as important as for love.

And the second. To be able to write, you have to write. Constantly. You can not theoretically learn to ride a bicycle. To go - we must go. Everyday. Sit down and pedal. Fall, get up and sit down again. A good "bike" for a writer can be a blog, a page in social networks. There you can write shortly, slowly accustoming to express what you think and feel, as accurately as possible. And here it is possible to get feedback from readers.

For the sake of training, you can write about everything: overheard in the metro conversation, unexpected snowfall in April, a memory that came to mind from childhood. The main thing is to find the "potential difference", some tension between the two poles, the beginning and the end of the sketch, consciously arrange in their story some confrontation of the elements. So that the reader gets caught on this hook and does not get off it.

And to see how to do it, you have to read. As much as possible different. Not only art texts, but also journalism, good scientific texts, notebooks, memoirs and letters. And those who are active and good - from your point of view - writes on the Web. You can and imitate someone at first - for apprenticeship is useful. Mastering different manners and styles, you gradually find your own.

Of course, the WRITING SKILLS can be developed: if I were not convinced of this, I would not have conducted literary courses here for the sixth year already. All our skills are based on some kind of natural inclination, but without proper development of this inclination, nothing will turn out. In this sense, the craft of a professional compiler of texts does not differ from the musician's craft. My courses are attended by people who are more likely to start and even curious, who have some predisposition, but circumstances did not allow this predisposition to be realized before. At least half of those who come are people working in PR and journalism, that is, they are able to compose texts and need a jerk for the transition between journalism and literature. I try to help them to overcome this side as much as I can. Our courses are arranged as seminar classes: first I lecture on a certain "technical" topic, and then I ask to write sketches that are checked in the classroom. We organize circular seminar discussions with their colleagues and comrades, and I sum up these discussions as a maître. I do not invent a bicycle: this is how literary seminars work.

There are a number of errors that novice authors allow. It all depends on the background with which they come. If the author comes with a journalistic background, he feels the rhythm of the phrase, he knows that you can not put the word "was" twice in one sentence, but he has flaws and flaws in the storyline. Then I tell him that the final from the event does not follow logically, that the exposure is too tight. As a rule, this happens because the written text is too closely connected with the biography of the author himself (which is perfectly normal for the first, second, third book: let us recall Tolstoy with his "Adolescence"), and says that literary laws are different From the laws of life. And there are people with another background - forgive me for some gender non-political correctness, - as a rule, grown-up men, who have something to say. They make the simplest mistakes at the level of the phrase - the very double "was." I show them this. That is, I do what the editor in the publishing house does.

I will also give one piece of advice to both beginners and professionals: now there are many freelance services where you can improve your skills and earn good money. Upwork, writing army or just search on the job search sites. Believe me, it will not take much time and effort, but for that, you will get huge profit.

I say it again and describe why. WE MUST read a lot, I would even say - read everything, that is, do not compose lists of authors, media or books, but really read everything, including any information garbage. It is necessary to have an idea of what and how it is already written, as now they write, how they do not write. In any case, the most important thing is the coordinate system in which you exist. For a person writing such a system must be all the texts that are available to him.

A writer's block or, on the contrary, inspiration is not something that is a myth, but something close to it. We are simple people, we have a deadline, and we are waiting for the text, all the rest - nonsense. In my youth, I had problems when I could not start the text for a long time, and then I opened the window of a new post in LiveJournal or a new letter in the mail, wrote there, and everything turned out right away, because it's easier to write a letter or post than an article. It helps to come up with a specific addressee, to which the text is addressed: that's as if you personally tell him this story, focusing on the fact that he will be interested in how many minutes he will listen to you continuously (and then you need to distract yourself, somehow joke or change the subject ) etc. And the secret of a good text for that and the secret that no one knows him and foresee whether the text will turn out or not, in my opinion, simply can not.

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