|Photo credit: Calamity Meg on Flickr|
Becoming a great writer, however, takes years of dedication, hard work, writing and writing. So for those of us interested in fast tracking our way to writerly stardom, here are a few shortcuts. As long as you don’t skip any, you’ll be well on your way to millions:
How to Write as Well as Hemingway, King or Rowling*
- Irrelevant prologues. Prologues are the time to trick your readers into believing that they’re going to be reading about something entirely different from your actual WIP. Drone on about a character mentioned once on page 146, or throw in a high-speed car chase to your medieval fantasy novel for fun. It’s not like anyone actually reads them, anyway.
- Long, arduous descriptions. Describe everything with meticulous detail. At least a page each should be dedicated to the color of the sky, the kind of trees outside, the animals going about their business and the exact physical description of every character (important and not), down to the shape of their eyebrows.
- Itemization of your protagonist’s every move. Brushing teeth, tweezing eyebrows, shaving, preparing breakfast, choosing clothes—everything is relevant. After all, how are readers supposed to believe your characters are real if they don’t know their everyday routine?
- Steal clichés. The calm before the storm. Cute as a button. Tongue-in-cheek. Wakeup call. These phrases are popular because they are the essence of writing genius. Use as many as you can possibly squeeze into your writing, in fact go here and here to find more and use them all.
- Uniform sentences. This one is a bit tricky, but essential nonetheless: every sentence must have the same amount of words. There are absolutely positively no exceptions to this rule, and the longer they are the better the sentence. Trust me on this because it’s the only way to truly hone the essence of sentence writing skills.
- Impressive vocabulary. As a writer, it’s your duty to show the world the depths of your carefully honed vocabulary. Your characters don’t think—they surmise; nor do they speak—they pontificate. Use that hard-earned vocabulary so your readers may be awed at your superior intellect.
- Monologuing villains. If your villain doesn’t have a five-page monologue in which he explicates the full details of his diabolical plot, you’re not doing it right.
- Kill everyone. It’s how Shakespeare ended everything, and he’s a literary genius, so...
- Inception. Was the whole novel a dream or reality? If you did your job correctly, your readers will never know.
- The end...or is it? Don’t tie off loose ends—you’re just destroying future possibilities for sequels and series continuations. The more questions your readers have at the end of your book, the more likely they are to continue the series to find answers.
With these simple steps, you’ll have your name permanently etched in the literary hall of fame in no time. You’re welcome.
*There are no shortcuts to becoming a great writer. This is a sarcastic post and none of these points are meant to be taken seriously. In fact, it’d probably be best if you avoided every one of those so-called shortcuts.
What so-called shortcuts do you have for writing like the masters?