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April 24, 2014

Universal Writing Truths


U is for Universal Writing Truths

There are many universal writing truths out there so I am going to share some now. You’ll find writing tips (some that you may know, some that you may not know) as well as facts, quotes and other words of wisdom.

Enjoy!


"No one is asking, let alone demanding, that you write. The world is not waiting with bated breath for your article or book. Whether or not you get a single word on paper, the sun will rise, the earth will spin, the universe will expand. Writing is forever and always a choice -- your choice." -Beth Mende Conny

STASTIC: From the time a person begins writing as a hobby, it takes them an average of eight years to become traditionally published.

Exclamation points are used to express strong feelings.

Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination. But should finish in the reader’s.” –Stephen King

FACT: Reading improves your vocabulary.

Five of the 26 alphabet letters are vowels: A, E, I, O, and U. The letter “Y” is sometimes considered a vowel.

Fiction means the story is fake. Nonfiction means the story is real.

 “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”  –Mark Twain

FACT: William Shakespeare invented the word “hurry".

A palindrome is a word or phrase that is the same if read forward and backward. Example Sentence: A Santa at Nasa. Example Word: Racecar

A noun is a person, place, thing, animal, or idea.

“Books aren't writtenthey're rewritten." -Michael Crichton

FACT: Pencils are yellow because the best graphite in the world comes from China. The Chinese believe the color yellow represents royalty and respect, so in the 1890’s American manufactures painted their pencils yellow to symbolize those feelings and to announce their pencils contained Chinese graphite.

Punctuation marksincluding question marks, commas and periodsgo inside quotation marks.

FACT: When they are trying out a new pen for the first time, 97% of people will write their own name.

"Success comes to a writer, as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realize the heights to which he has climbed." -P.G. Wodehouse

STASTIC: Agented authors send an average of 65 queries before gaining representation.

Stress kills creativity.

FACT: C.S. Lewis received over 800 rejections before he sold a single piece of writing.

“A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote.”  –Mignon  McLaughlin


There are hundreds of universal writing truths from common grammar rules to wisdom from the great writers who came before us.






68 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

CS Lewis knew perseverance.
Still laughing about jacking off a horse...

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

That "Capitalization" line killed me. :)

Stephanie Faris said...

These are all great! Although, I did laugh at the statement that the world isn't waiting for my article...I have five articles due at 1pm today...so one person is waiting, I guess! But you're right...we write not because we have to but because we feel compelled to.

Unknown said...

This is a great collection of truths, especially the ones about perserverance!
Nancy

Ruby Manchanda said...

I liked the compilation here

Sophie Duncan said...

Nice mixture of truths in your list.

I think one truth I write by is: Learn what the rules are before you try and break them.
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

Anonymous said...

I like the truth…In order to write well you must read well.

Chrys Fey said...

CS Lewis was amazing!

Chrys Fey said...

I was hoping people would get a kick out of that one. :D

Chrys Fey said...

I agree. Usually our editors or publishers are waiting. And sometimes readers may wait for the next book in a trilogy or series, but if we can't write the world won't end. Only our "world" would end.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Nancy!

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks.

Chrys Fey said...

That is a good truth. I've found that some rules aren't really "rules" though but opinions that may not make sense for every writer. Of course, grammar rules should never be broken! ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Excellent truth!

David P. King said...

Sometimes it takes twice as many years of writing and queries to get represented/traditionally published. Case in point. :)

Kelly Hashway said...

I love that Stephen King quote. :)

Chrys Fey said...

So do I. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It sure does!

Sarah Foster said...

Stress kills creativity...well, that explains my constant writer's block...

Unknown said...

I enjoyed this post so much! I especially like the Beth Mende Conny quote. I'll have to nab that and put it on my wall somewhere:)

Julie Flanders said...

Wow, I had no idea about C.S. Lewis! Great post for the always difficult U day. I loved the whole thing.

Chrys Fey said...

It explains mine too!

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you! Whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed with writing, I like to read her quote. :)

Kyra Lennon said...

"Agented authors send an average of 65 queries before gaining representation."

That is truly frightening! That is a whole lot of rejection to handle!

Chrys Fey said...

U was a difficult post. But not as hard as X, which will be coming very soon. lol

Chrys Fey said...

Isn't it? I've sent out a lot of queries for my series, but I don't think I'm anywhere near 65!

Donna Smith said...

I am trying to think of a universal truth about writing - other than those listed. Scriptus interruptus is not good. Find a place and time, so it won't happen. I thought I'd come up with that phrase, but to be sure I Googled it. It was the name of season 1 episode 11 of "Becker". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0520632/
Oh, well, it is still a good thing to avoid.
Donna Smith
The A-to-Z Challenge
Mainely Write

Carrie-Anne said...

I think the best universal truth is to write what you love, instead of deliberately writing what's trendy or popular. You also should believe in your story, and not start radically, frantically rewriting or revising just because someone else doesn't like one element of your book or thinks something needs changed. Ultimately, the decision to revise, rewrite, or restructure should come down to what the writer thinks, not the opinion of someone who didn't write it.

Chrys Fey said...

It is a good thing to avoid, Donna! Thank you for your comment. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Indeed! There is no writing truth better than writing what you love.

I always say "It's your book, it's up to you." :D

Lisa Thomson said...

Those are fantastic facts and truths! John Irving wrote 8 novels before getting published. I always find it fascinating how much rejection famous writers have taken. I also believe writing is the single most difficult vocation.

ilima said...

These are fun! And CS Lewis...800 rejections??? Wow.

Chrys Fey said...

So do I, Lisa. It gives me hope that after all of my tries and rejections that it can still happen for me. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you. :) Yes! I'm nowhere near that many rejections and I hope I don't reach that number before I get an agent!

debi o'neille said...

I didn't know Shakespeare came up with the word hurry. You have some wonderful little facts here. I'm not shooting for 800 rejections, but then…
Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

CA Heaven said...

We learnt in school that Y is a vowel. In our language, we also have three more Wovels appended at the end of the alphabet: Æ, Ø and Å >:)

Cold As Heaven

Crystal Collier said...

It's not true. There are several people asking, begging, demanding that I write. They want the sequel and third installment in this series. (Not that I'm complaining. ;)

True Heroes from A to Z

Mystery said...

I'm in the 3% of people who don't write their own name when trying out a new pen. I tend to write a character's name. :)

The Immarcescible Word

Unknown said...

"Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse."

BWWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Seriously made me pee my pants. No joke. Sorry, but just HAD to share that TMI.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Very interesting about why pencils are yellow and about the 97%. Thanks for sharing the quotes and truths.

Chrys Fey said...

Yes, but the universe would still go on if you couldn't write.

Chrys Fey said...

I not shooting for 800 rejections either, but you never know.

Chrys Fey said...

That's interesting and confusing. haha

Chrys Fey said...

Ever since I read that statistic, I've been wanting to test it out. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

HAHA! Your comment is about to make me pee my pants. :P

Chrys Fey said...

I also found the pencil fact interesting. :) You're welcome.

Unknown said...

These were great! Thanks. I needed to be reminded that it takes time.

Also, we BOTH wrote about Universal Truths today...mine being the opening line of Pride & Prejudice.

Leanne Ross ( readfaced.wordpress.com & @LeanneRossRF )

Unknown said...

Truth: You will always find mistakes in your work. Even if you've gone over it a thousand times.

Loni Townsend said...

The line about capitalization cracked me up! Wonderful collection of truths.

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome. Sometimes it's good to be reminded to be patient. :)

Great minds think alike. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

OH YES!!!! Boy, is that ever true!

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad I could give you a laugh, Loni. :D

Colleen said...

I laughed at the capitalization one too, and got a couple more smiles at some of these other truths. And I can never hear enough times about how long and hard a writer has to work, on average, before they make any of the "milestones."

Pat Hatt said...

He was sure determined with those 800 rejections, can put thing in perspective

Unknown said...

Wow. That was so interesting, about the yellow pencils!

Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

Twitter: @AprilA2Z
#atozchallenge

Kristin Smith said...

Wonderful post, Chrys! I love the quotes, facts, and statistics. It gives me great encouragement to know on average a writer sends 65 queries before gaining representation. :)

Slamdunk said...

Great U word choice, and I am all for selling reading as a way to increase one's vocal. I harp on it with older son--he actually has not tuned me out on this topic.

And I had no idea about the yellow pencils thing.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Wow, this was a really interesting post. I think it's my favourite so far, and you've had some great ones. I had no idea about the pencils, and those stats about rejection are so comforting.

My universal writing truth is the book "On Writing." So I can say, with full confidence, "What he said."

Anonymous said...

lol @ Uncle Jack

Thanks for compiling these facts, statistics, and quotes.

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

I used to be a programmer, so if I was trying out a new pen I'd probably write "Hello World" since that is the first program you usually write in a new language :) I'm not sure writing is a choice, I'd go bonkers if I didn't write, but writing for other people definitely is. *snigger* at the Uncle Jack example :)
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

Chrys Fey said...

I'm happy to make you laugh and smile. :) It does take time before a writer can reach their true success. And it's something we should all hear to be reminded it can still happen. :)

Chrys Fey said...

He sure was. We should all be like that. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I found that so interesting, too! :D

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Kristin! It also give me encouragement. And hope. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Reading is a great way to grow vocabulary, imagination, and if read aloud it can help one's speech. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Really? Wow! I like that! Thank you!! :D

Chrys Fey said...

I'm so glad everyone enjoyed that one. :D

Chrys Fey said...

I love that! "Hello World." :D