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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.


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