John Shore’s tips on writing.

22 01 2008

Over on his blog, writer John Shore has been running an excellent set of tips for writers who want to make it their living. The latest, and last, in the series is here, and also offers links to his previous tips.

John’s advice is sound, and rather than me repeating, it’s best if you just go visit.

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5 responses

22 01 2008
John Shore

Thanks very much for this. I love your blog. You write well.

22 01 2008
Trudi Topham

That’s very kind of you, John. Thanks 🙂

22 01 2008
James Rundle

There’s a lot of decent advice there, and it’s obvious that he has the experience and intelligence to advise on the subject. While I don’t agree with some of what Shore says, it’s still interesting to read. Thanks for the link!

22 01 2008
John Shore

Trudi: Of course. I mean, you did ME the favor. Plus, I really do like your stuff.

James: Tell me why you don’t agree with something you don’t, and I’ll change it if you’ve got something better. Seriously; I’ve got no particular attachment to what I’ve said. Just wanna help. If you can improve on anything I’ve said, I’ll plug it in (and credit you, of course). Thanks.

23 01 2008
James Rundle

Hi John,

It was just personal opinion through my own experience really – I disagreed somewhat with the point entitled ‘Believe In Your Lack Of Competition’, where you state that the great writing in magazines wasn’t necessarily the work of the writers themselves but the editors who hammered it into shape. While that is often the case, and I have had to heavily edit freelance in the past to make it print-worthy, I find the majority of submissions from freelancers or staff writers/contributors doesn’t need all that much editing in feature form. The skill and the ability is already there, aside from a few minor typos and grammatical errors. But I could just have been very lucky!

Secondly, I wasn’t one hundred percent sold on your ‘Finding Your Voice’ article. While it’s true that to write completely from the heart you have to be totally apathetic towards what people think about your work, it doesn’t do well to write purely for an audience. I think that perhaps a better way to have approached the subject would have been to say that while you should work on defining your own style and nuancing your writing with personality, you should avoid going so far that your voice overpowers your content, because then it turns into a diatribe that ends up alienating your audience rather than including them. Personally, when I’m writing a feature I seek to put across points that I want to make in a way that will seem appealing to my readership, while still retaining a style that is characteristic of my personality (which is still, obviously, a work in progress). Reviews are a different kettle of fish, as that does depend on measured opinions.

I could be reading your pieces wrong as I am doing so at work (while avoiding the all-seeing eye of Sauron…err…my Editor), and I realise that I’m looking at it from a journalistic perspective, but those were two main points that stood out.

However, I did find them to be intelligent, well thought-out and humorous articles that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing with us!

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