Tips on Tuesday: “About All Things” Writing

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

Tanis Rideout, author of Above All Things, in The Writer (April 2014, article by Lauren Carter), talked about seven points in her “How I Write” interview: inspiration, starting point, two voices, research, revision, poetry, and advice.

Inspiration: Working in an outdoor, she didn’t “get” Everest climbers — why would they DO that? — until she saw early footage of the 1920’s expedition and fell in love with George Mallory.

Starting point: A question about a character: why would they . . . ?

Two voices: George was the adventurer, but who/what was his wife, Ruth? What was her story?

Research: Rideout read everything she could find about Everest and Mallory including letters, followed current expeditions, watched documentaries, etc. You know, she did research! Learned to know the people, the places, her characters.

Revision: This is where the “magic happens,” for Rideout. She got the first draft done, then make it work. (And BTW, she let very few people see multiple drafts other than her editor.)

Poetry: Rideout claims “poetry and prose” (and she writes both) are “good for each other.” And I believe her. Poetry can show focus and detail. Prose gives the writer room to stretch and “shoot off in a zillion different ways.”

Advice: Find a few readers who will give cold, honest feedback. “You can’t get better in a vacuum.”

Not a bad process, that. Give it a try!

See you next for Thinkin’ on Thursday!


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