Write Like A Ninja

Due to a really busy day, I am re-publishing a post from September of 2010. After re-reading it I find it funny that I actually took my own advice. πŸ™‚ I’m still learning, still studying every day. Hope you enjoy…and have a fabulous day!!
So….I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of months.  I’ve read blogs of aspiring authors and blogs of published authors.  I’ve read how-to-write-a-novel books, and slews of other instructional finds on the methods of finer writing.  I’ve read interviews with literary agents and publishers and editors. I’ve been inhaling books like oxygen and to be honest, YES…….MY BRAIN IS FRIED AND IT WILL TAKE A MONTH OF SUNDAYS TO STRAIGHTEN ALL THIS MESS OUT!

     BUT….as I’ve said, I’ve learned a lot.  Mainly….you gotta have some mad ninja writing skill to do this right.

     And not just grammar-wise, although you should brush up on that too.  There’s so much more to this than I could ever begin to say, so I won’t.  My blog post would be a mile long.  If you have questions and I can help, just ask, but if you are writing a book, be prepared to learn.

     Stay Humble.  Ask Questions….Never Ever Stop Asking Questions….Study Other Books…Understand What Agents & Publishers Are Looking For….Stay Current….And…Stay Humble….Did I already say that?  Yes…because it is important to understand that you are never too good to learn something.  I read somewhere that if you’re green, you’re fresh, if you’re ripe, you’re rotten.  Remember that.

     Anyway, I decided to make a list of Ninja Tips For Writers:

     1.  Silent but Deadly==> Don’t overdo it.  Emotion is a deeply internal thing.  Some of the best writing comes from being able to take a simple moment and squeeze every ounce of life out of it, but stay focused.  Writing doesn’t have to be grandiose to be amazing.  Find the deeper meaning for your characters and let it bleed onto the page.  Remember the most minute parts of emotion and fear and anger and hate and love when you write about them and keep it about your characters, not an overall theme.  Let the theme be silent but ever present as well.
     2.  Make Them Suffer==>  Stick the knife in and twist it.  If you can see an open wound that you have created for your characters, then pour salt in it.  Better yet….dig your fingers in and rip it open.  Readers get invested in characters that they can feel for, and it is your job as a writer to create that connection.  If your character hates to be alone, put them in solitary confinement.  Make them face their demons and walk down the most broken road you can imagine.
     3.  Strike In The Blink Of An Eye==>  DON’T BE PREDICTABLE.  If a reader can guess what’s going to happen at every turn of the page, then where’s the fun?  Characters are usually predictable…however…their circumstances are not.  Keep shock value at the forefront of your thoughts.  If the reader’s mouth is gaping open and tears are welling in their eyes and they are constantly repeating OMG, OMG, OMG….then you’ve done something.
     4.  Blend Into The Background==> No reader wants to suffer through pages and pages of backstory.  Except maybe me, but I don’t count.  I’m a rare breed of people who still like knowing a character’s history.  But…thanks to the impatient need most readers have to get to the point…mostly induced by our cinema culture…a writer has to thrust the reader right smack dab into the middle of things.  So…blend necessary backstory into the context later on.  It should flow effortlessly and never be plopped in where it doesn’t belong.  Add it only if it fits into the context of the dialogue and is necessary information.  Readers are not dumb.  They’ll figure things out.
     5.   Study Your Craft==>  As I said before…never think you have learned all there is to know.  The best writers see their flaws and want to know how to fix them.   Read your work.  Set it aside.  Pull it back out days later.  Read it again.  See the flaws?  I thought so.  And though most writer’s never consider their work perfection, they do strive to produce the best work they can.  This is key.  Know that just because it looks great through your eyes doesn’t mean everyone else wears rose colored glasses as well.  Be objective and proactive in your writing efforts.  Would you try to jump out of an airplane without some training?  I don’t think so.  Know your craft and what’s expected.
Add to the list! What Ninja-like abilities have you acquired as a writer?

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  1. Love this post.

    I like the silent but deadly…I would add…then hit them between the eyes with some incredible poignant plot twist throwing star…to keep the reader involved emotionally.

  2. I would agree that revision is a writers best friend…. I would add– to thyself be true. In my niche my writing style didn't follow the trend,so following my instincts took guts.

  3. I love this! I also have found, stick with it and keep going. Could that be ninja-like? Do they keep doing stuff over and over until they get it? πŸ™‚ (Like forcing yourself to sit and write even when you don't want to?) Thanks–this was great!

  4. Nice post.

    I would add the obvious: 'know your enemy' or 'study your opponents well' – As writers we must pay attention to what others are publishing in our genres in order to spot any weak points/chinks in their armour/gaps in the market…