“I write every day. I don’t know what I’m doing a lot of the time, but I’m always happy to be in a story and playing around inside of it.” Alice Elliott Dark
Alice Elliott Dark is a beloved writer and teacher. Her first novel, Think of England, was published in 2002. Her newest novel, Fellowship Point, will be published this year. In between, she’s written several books of short stories. One story, “In the Gloaming,“ has been widely praised for its emotional strength and craft, and was turned into a film.
In a recent interview,* Alice offered some pithy writing advice:
Let your imagination guide you: Write about what captures your enthusiasm and interest, whatever the genre.
Go with your energy flow: Take time to analyze the natural flow of your writing—your natural rhythm. Organize your writing time around this flow so you can take advantage of your creative energy.
Start a writer’s notebook: Use it to explore interesting craft techniques you might apply, ideas and phrases you want to capture, and to track what you accomplish each day.
Take your time: Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t judge a first draft as if it should be polished. Don’t rush to finish a piece. Resist the temptation to see it as done if it’s not.
Make a writing plan: Decide what you want to do in your daily writing session; afterward, note how it played out.
Read actively: Take time to analyze what you read. Why did a paragraph or sentence affect you? How does it work? Then try it.
Practice plotting and point of view: Play around with point of view. Describe places objectively and then with emotional depth.
Be yourself: Don’t compare yourself to other writers. No one can write the way you can. Your voice is unique. Enjoy it!
Wonderful advice to ponder and apply as we all write on!
* Montclair Magazine, May 2022.
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