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Fiction, Musings, Short Story, Writing

The ability to write is like a knife’s blade


The ability to write, and write as well as you can, is like a knife’s blade. If you don’t sharpen a knife’s blade, it will eventually become dull, and then blunt, and the same happens with writing.

If you want to be a writer, you have to actually write. I know, it’s an amazing fact that not many people appreciate, but the simple act of typing, writing, or thumbing (if you use a smartphone) the thoughts in your head onto some medium or other, helps hone that edge. It whets your ability.

It’s like people who say to me, “I need to get fitter before I come to Taekwondo.” Basically, this is bullshit. You get fitter for Taekwondo by doing Taekwondo. You get fitter for running by doing running. You get better at writing by writing.

Don’t ever say “I’d love to write, but I can’t.” Why? If you can speak, you can structure sentences of some sort. If you can read, you can read those sentences back to yourself. If they sound awful, then you can play with changing them until they sound better.

Another thing I hear is, “I don’t know how to start a story.” Bullshit. Everyone knows the most famous opening line. It goes like this, “Once upon a time.” If you have to start your story like this fine, do so! When you get better, you can look at doing it differently. I’ll type an example below, right off the top of my head. It will most likely be pretty crap but hey, that’s the point. No-one, anywhere, is expert at anything the first time they do it.

So, here goes;

Once upon a time there was a man. He was man like any other man, which means that he was completely different. He thought he was the same. After all, he got up in the morning, went to the toilet, washed, breakfasted and went to work. But, there was something in him that made him who he was, James Sinclair. What was he? A man. Who was he? James Sinclair. That was what made him different. That, and the way he reacted to the events of January 15th, 2015.

There you are. Completely random thoughts strung together in a series of sentences, and put into an opening paragraph. What happened on January 15th, 2015? I don’t know. Who was James Sinclair and how did he react? I don’t know.

Tell you what, why don’t you tell me?

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7. Matthew was Features Editor, Technical Consultant and regular columnist for magazines such as ‘Fighters’, ‘Combat’, ‘TKD & Korean Martial Arts’ and ‘Traditional Karate’. These are the four leading martial arts magazines in the United Kingdom. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed 'Practical Taekwondo: Back to the Roots', which has been sold around the world. With regard to his martial arts background he has been studying martial arts since 1991. In 1995 he hosted Professor Rick Clark of the ADK and since then has been studying pressure points and their uses in the martial arts and on the street (initially as a Special Constable and as a Door Supervisor). All of this practical hands-on experience means that he is uniquely placed to write fight scenes that are not only plausible but some of which are based on personal or anecdotal experience. Matthew has had a number of short stories published by Fringe Works, KnightWatch Press, Anderfam Press and Emby Press.

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