If You’re Not Sure, Say It Loud
The above advice from my sixth grade teacher, “Mr. Barber” in Monstrous, is the one external nugget internalized that I feel improved upon my innate writing skill. The unspoken flip side is if you are sure, of course say it loud, so you’re shouting both coming and going.
The one other thing that really helped me was a game I used to make of my occasional near mistakes. I would start to spell a word and realize mid-construction that if I used it I wouldn’t be able to complete my thought from the way in which I had begun it. I wanted no erasing or crossing out of my penciled or penned words, so instead would pause and look hard for an alternative means of construction. If I got the ‘c’ and ‘o’ in “company” down and saw that it wouldn’t work, perhaps I could finish the word “cold” or “coffee” and from that point somehow find a way to reach my destination.
Monstrous wasn’t written exactly, but it was sculpted by a fellow who had taken the art of writing far enough to eventually become fed up. The Virgin Gary had reached a hundred pages and I still hadn’t managed to get my fictionalized self born. I was never going to finish if I did a James Joyce and went burrowing into tunnels within tunnels, and ultimately I grew tired of the lie. Bought myself a tape recorder and decided to make it nonfiction. The rest is history.
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