Peggy Bechko on Writing “Experts”

expert babyby Peggy Bechko

Writing, screenwriting, copywriting – just plain writing.

There are experts everywhere. There are articles coming out of our ears. There’s so damn much! And I’m writing one right now – see the little letters skipping across the page?

So, who do we, as writer, listen to? Well me, of course. Seriously, listen to everyone and no one. That’s helpful right?

Well here’s the thing. You read, you write, you read some more. You absorb and let it all stew around inside your head. You get a great mentor (nods to Larry) and you write some more. BUT and it’s a big but, as any master writer, mentor and expert can tell you, it doesn’t matter how much you learn, you’ll never create exactly like that guiding star. You just won’t. And that’s okay, what YOU create shouldn’t be exactly like what’s been created before. If for some strange reason it does come out exactly like theirs, then you’ve messed up and not allowed your own muse to step into that web of learning and come up with something new and fresh.

Writers are artists. They learn the basics, then start adding and allowing their own person views and tastes come through. Basically there is no set of rules. Well, only one. It’s imperative when writing (anything) that the reader is grabbed by the throat so firmly that that reader must keep turning the page of your script or manuscript or advertising copy. If you’re a writer it doesn’t matter how you get to your final destination. All that matters is what you’ve finally created and how intensely you’ve grabbed that throat.

So where does all this take us? Simple. If some ‘expert’ tells you there’s only one way to do it that expert is one of many things. Stupid, overbearing, full of him or herself, untutored, probably unpublished and/or unproduced…you name it. What resources a writer chooses to integrate into his or her process, whether it’s books, personal contact, classes, or online resources, it’s a method that belongs to that writer alone.

Most writers who mentor others in any way don’t expect a clone or even want one. Really. On the other hand, they’re no doubt honored when a writer they’ve attempted to help and guide has taken their advice, added to it, played with it, and came up with something fresh and original. Go ahead, ask an established writer if this is true for them.

Whatever resources you employ as a writer, allow yourself to be inspired, uplifted and propelled forward. Whatever the source, that’s what expert advice should do for you as a writer. Inspiration, not lock down. Write with reckless abandon. There’s the road that lies before you. Fear of failure can take you down. Don’t let it. If in all your explorations, in person, in books and online, you garner just one lovely nugget of information you can turn round and round and benefit from then it’s worth the journey.

And remember, what speaks to one, may not speak to another. What works at one time, may not do so another. It all depends on the project and on the evolving skill level of the writer.

Oh, and before I go for this round – remember opinions that differ, approaches that may seem strange to one should all be embraced. Don’t listen to the naysayers, the web trolls or self-appointed reviewers who always find the negative. The behavior we see frequently on the web is junior high school, unprofessional and just downright unacceptable. It’s amazing how afraid people are to disagree, especially with some ‘expert’ with a huge following. Stand up. Disagree. Move forward.

That’s it. Pat yourself on the back. You’re a writer.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. Grab your copy of Book 2 now! And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page

Peggy Bechko on Overthinking – the Writer’s Plague

overthinking

by Peggy Bechko

Actually overthinking probably is pretty much everyone’s plague – but I’m talking about writers here so that’s where I’ll take this article.

Do you over think, over edit, over tweak everything you write? Yeah, it’s tough, I know. Insecurity, worry, apprehension, am-I-doing-it-right-itis.

We all do it sometime. Writers do it more often. Worry a plot, a scene, a paragraph to death.

But here’s a little tip. Don’t give yourself time to overthink. Set yourself a schedule and a deadline, keep moving, get on with your storytelling (and your life I might add) and you’ll find you write with more clarity and certainly more confidence.

Most writers have at least a touch of the ‘introvert’ which leads to a mini-crisis of confidence more often than we care to admit. So the hard core advice? Don’t think. Just do. At times it may be necessary to simply hit some keys on the keyboard to get things moving. Hey at least you can delete them later. Creativity can’t be forced, but you can give it a nudge and you can, at times, corner it.

It’s sort of like a second date. If the guy is late and doesn’t text or phone, the girl might start thinking it was something she did on that first date to put him off, but why then did he ask for a second date? But what if he reconsidered and isn’t coming?

What if, what if, what if. Normally the lifeblood of the writer, what if can be a real barricade to progress if the writer lets it get the best of him.

There are lots of things that can cause that crisis of confidence and subsequent over thinking. One of them could be you’re in a stupor of exhaustion. Bluntly, get some rest, that should do it.

But if your overthinking is due to a lack of confidence then you’re going to have to have a talk with yourself.

Look, you got a story idea. It came from somewhere and perhaps was instigated by some THING. You have to embrace the fact that it is your idea and you’re the one who’s going to do right by it. No one else could possibly do it better. Really. You’re IT. Your time and your creativity are precious. Move forward with confidence and if it’s lacking, find ways to bolster it.

Once you get a script in hand that you’re proud of, the same applies to every aspect of your writing career. Whether you’re in touch with Hollywood execs, or a publisher, don’t fall into overthinking once you’ve hit that submit button.

There’s no way for you to know if that person has had a bad day. You have no control over that just as you can’t exert any control over what someone thinks about what you’ve written. That person with script or publishing power just might have a slush pile of 60 scripts waiting to be read, or got the big time flu, or just isn’t into the story you’ve written. No matter, you’re already writing your next project, right?

Keep writing.

Keep pushing forward.

And if you find yourself in that bog of overthinking every little detail in order to slow your own progress, give yourself a little slap and get on with it. If you don’t, you run the risk of paralyzing yourself and your writing career. Write trash. It doesn’t matter. Write enough of it and you’ll write something really good.

Believe in that idea that cropped up out of somewhere. Believe in yourself. Be confident and you’ll overcome the overthinking plague.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. Grab your copy of Book 2 now! And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page

Peggy Bechko Shares 10 Great Writers’ Quotes

wisdom

by Peggy Bechko

Some of my favorite writers quotes about writing that I simply must share with you! What better time than the beginning of a new year to take a break from writing and reflect a bit, both soberly and with some humor?

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

Who can argue with that?

“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.”
—Roald Dahl, WD

I’m there!

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
—Stephen King

There’s a lesson there.

“Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. … I have 10 or so, and that’s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.”
—Gore Vidal

Ahhhhh, those voices in our heads!

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
—Elmore Leonard

Another lesson learned.

“There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”
—Doris Lessing

So true.

“If you tell the reader that Bull Beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snake’s blood in his veins, the reader’s reaction may be, ‘Oh, yeah!’ But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!”
—Fred East, WD

He’s giving the involve the reader advice – don’t just tell them what’s going on.

“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD

Love the poetry of this one.

“There is only one plot—things are not what they seem.”
—Jim Thompson

Think about it, it’s true.

“Beware of advice—even this.”
—Carl Sandburg, WD

That about sums it up.

In closing I must mention the release of the third in our comic series Planet Of The Eggs – Mummified Egg. An exciting adventure far from
Eggland where our superhero eggs find the lair of the Mummified Egg and the horror is unleashed. Grab your copy today!


This first appeared on the blog of TVWriter™ Contributing Editor Peggy Bechko. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. Grab your copy of Book 2 now! And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page