Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All I need to know about Writing...

...I learned from watching Gurren Lagann. This is for Susan Adrian and Rinda Elliott.

Keep digging. Every day. Through it all, Simon keeps doing what he’s good at. And you know what? He saves the whole freakin’ universe because of it. Who knows what you could do if you’d just keep writing.

Have a mentor*. We all know Simon wouldn’t have ever gotten above ground if it hadn’t been for the insanity insistence of his big bro Kamina. Same thing in writing. You need someone who’s gone before to help guide the way. (Someone who is going to drag your ass along for the ride kicking and screaming if they have to.)

Emulate those you admire. It’s totally ok. We all do it. Try on their writing styles and habits. See what fits.

Find out who you are & be true to yourself. We all have our own ways of doing things. You know/learn what works for you. Use it. Eventually you'll have to step out from the shadow of those who came before and make a stand for what you believe.

Each generation wants to revolutionize their world. You are not your parents’ fiction, but at some point you become someone else’s parents’ fiction.

We all need a reminder to kick our logic to the curb. The line between stupidity and pure genius gets blurry. Especially if you're writing speculative. A lot of the time you really won’t know if an idea’s a good one until you write it. Sometimes it only becomes a good idea because you wrote it.

You will need to be punched in the face. Accept this as part of your hero’s journey.

You will need to punch other people in the face
. Just remember: There are various ways to do this that don’t involve actual physical violence.

Love makes the universe work. Write what you love. Passionately. Love the people you work with. Just don’t, y’know, love love them. It's probably considered inappropriate.

Anti-spirals just want to ruin your day. Fear/doubt plagues us all, no matter what our experience level is. There are people who will prey on your fears and feed your doubts. You can either listen to these people or you can do the smart thing: Throw galaxies at them!

Every leader needs a team. Keep those who support you near. Remember they are vital to your success so treat them well. They depend on you, too.

Who the hell do you think we are? Confidence. Become a force to be reckoned with. God help the idiot who gets between you and your goals.

Things are better when you combine them. Your writing gets better when you combine your efforts with the efforts of those around you. From your beta readers/critique partners to your editor and copy-editor. Feedback is there for your manuscript’s benefit. Use it.

Someone will think your cooking is delicious, Nia-chan. We all have different tastes. You will not suit everyone’s palate, and that’s ok as long as you suit someone’s.

You serve the story. What you want is secondary to what it needs.

Give it all you've got! Why "save" things for a future book? Hold nothing back. Free up the space in your head for more ideas. Better ones. You want that future book to ever see the light of day? Then write the hell out of your present manuscript.

Keep going up. Constantly work at improving your craft. Challenge yourself. Never settle. Be good, but keep aiming for better. Remember what Liz says: Yours is the pen that will pierce the heavens.

*A mentor is different, btw, than a role model. A role model is someone you admire and emulate but may never have any kind of acquaintanceship with. A mentor is an accessible professional who you feel comfortable asking for advice (with a relative certainty that you’ll get a response.)

I have no doubt forgotten other essential lessons that Gurren Lagann teaches us, so I appeal to the Webmind. Got a suggestion? Put it in the comments and we shall do some manly combining to create a list that no beastman can defeat.


Elizabeth M. Thurmond said...

Do not believe in the us who believe in you. Do not believe in the you who believes in us. Believe in the you who believes in yourself. :)

Also: Sometimes it only becomes a good idea because you wrote it. is going up on the wall above my computer.


Chandra Rooney said...

I believe in the you who believes in me who believes in you, Liz. ;)

John Evans said...

I believe in the you who believes in Liz who...uh...segmentation fault

In all seriousness, it's actually startling how well this applies to a project that I am about to launch.

KT said...

I still remember watching the penultimate few episodes of GL in LA while you were doing your work. It confused the hell out of you, but I think you now understand why I couldn't wait until I got home to find out what happened. :)

(I feel vindicated in my 'NO REALLY, GUYS, YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS SHOW' you had to put up with for however many months it was now. XD)

Also this is an awesome post.

Susan Adrian said...

Aw, thanks, bb!!