Writing Advice Update: An Education

My favorite holiday is here! No, not tax day. April Fool’s Day! And that means another update for the Writing Advice page. Though I thought about not posting as an April Fool’s Day joke, I decided that might not go over well. Though I’ll be honest, this month the first snuck up on me, so the advice update is a leetle leaner than usual.

But if you want to know how you might sort out a good MFA program, what college classes you should consider taking, and what else it takes to get a good education as a writer, take a look over here. As always, feel free to post your questions in the comments section so I can update the page as we go!

12 thoughts on “Writing Advice Update: An Education

  1. Ashley E. says:

    I’m curious as to character development, actually. I don’t know if that might sound a little odd, but I have five million ideas for plot points and other craziness that I want to play with, and no one to stick them in. Maybe it’s my inability to delve into the realm of the human mind that’s not my own and *understand*, I’m not sure. Any suggestions would be more than helpful. I’ve read all of the other stuff of yours, after I fell in love with the Night Angel trilogy, and I love it. Getting advice from you, Mr. Weeks, would make my day on this most macabre of days.

  2. Tim says:

    I wish I knew of this “Writing Advice” a lot earlier. I mean A LOT earlier. I’ve been writing a book for about two years or so and, being only 14 at the time, the first time through it was terrible (It’s what I got for not paying enough attention in school, but the inspiration from the Night Angel Trilogy begged me to write!). Now, I’ve rewritten it and can honestly say that it certainly looks more detailed as well as more organized and have surpassed my quitting point from those two years ago. As happy as I am, I realize that in roughly reaching the 17,000 word mark, I’ve barely gotten my hands dirty with it. If I had this, “Writing Advice” to help me back then, I might be- but I doubt it- nearly finished with it. Of course, I can’t blame a marvelous author such as yourself for my incompetence. I look forward to more useful writing tips from you along with your brilliant books. Before I finish, I’d like to ask you a question: Who would win between Kip and Kylar? Thanks in advance!

  3. Daniel says:

    I hate that genre writing is shit on in every college writing class I take. it is all about the literary, which in my school means hookers and drugs. It’s like no one can write anything interesting that goes into another world and takes us through one hell of a story. I still write fantasy in my classes, but I always get told to be more literary. I wish they could understand that fantasy can be literary as well, even if that is not what most fantasy is. However, I do learn a lot in these classes by being forced to write my own work and through that I learn what works for me as a writer and what I need to improve on. The classroom workshops are also great, because I get feedback on my idea, syntax, plot, characters, dialogue, etc. I think that most writers should try to go to college, or take some other classes, because the experiences, reading others’ work, and the education gained helps when writing your own material. Also, if a writer doesn’t do any research to write the book he or she may be writing, then most likely it is going to be weak.

    1. Tim says:

      I completely agree with the last section, on courses being useful for most people who want to write, even if they hate fantasy. And on fantasy being able to be literary.

      At my uni you get a bit of that, but it mainly depends on your lecturer and tutor. In first year, first semester English was reading and writing literature, which sucked. But second semester was introduction to fantasy narratives, which basically looked at fantasy as a literary form, which was pretty cool, even if they got a bit heavily into Freudian and Jungian (did I spell that right? I’ve got no idea) psychoanalysis. Similar situation for comparative lit. First semester was mainly semiotics, possibly the most boring thing ever. Most dry subject I’ve ever done. Second semester, however, was looking at intertextuality using science fiction to drive it. We traced the genre back to Frankenstein, from which we looked at themes brought up during the Romantic period and before, including the concept of “The Fall.” We then went on to things that came after Frankenstein, and then more modern examples which fit more with our concept of sci-fi. Which was much more interesting than first semester. Probably actually the best subject I’ve ever done.

  4. Ryan Danks says:

    I’ve always found that the best fantasy/science fiction works adapt elements of literary themes. Take, for instance, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – a modern cliché to be sure – and see how many ways you can adapt that to a fantasy world. Two ninja clans vying for a shogun’s favor when their heirs secretly fall in love and use magical portals to visit one another on the astral plane. Two military states that are constantly at war depend on their champions to decimate the ranks of each other’s armies, but those champions happen to secretly be in love.

    Or how about Macbeth? James Joyce’s “The Dead” has some interesting fantasy or science fiction possibilities. And Lu Xun’s “The True Story of Ah Q” has a great fumbling character that could be part of the supporting cast on a space ship.

  5. Brandon Wurzberger says:

    Right now i’m curious how authors come up with a lot of different name and they still feel natural to the story and world. 🙂

  6. Jacob says:

    I’m curious as to how you go about writing. I don’t mean the thought process behind it, I mean the constant battle between the key and the pen, the screen and the pad. Now of course I realize that an editor or publisher probably doesn’t want to sit there and read through your handwritten work so i guess what I’m asking is if you sit down with a pen and paper and write it down first, and then go back through and type it, or do you just sit at a computer? Myself personally i find that it is easier for me to get my ideas down on paper first, and then when i go back through and type it I actually end up editing it a little bit and make it better without even realizing this. The only thing is… I’d rather be writing new parts to the story than spending time re-writing what I’ve already written. Just wondering what your personally take on this is and if you have any advice.

  7. Anthony says:

    I always tried to find my way out of reading and writting, one is that im a terrible speller, as you may see, and the fact that i was always a slow reader. i was the kind of person that would wait for the movie to come out. after reading the night angle trilogy, i cant stand movies and cant get away from books. ive even come up with a few of my own stary lines and characcters to go along with it. i would just like to know, how you got in to writting? i am amazed at how well you came up with the story and how every character commented each other. you made it feel like you know the characters right down to heart.

  8. Darakna says:

    Hey, I have a question.

    In which program do you do your maps in?

    I write too, but I have a problem, coz I’m picky, and I tried about 4 different programs now. I just dunno, I think I’m trying to make it all too perfect.

    1. brent says:

      Well, first, I’m a crappy artist. I do all my maps by hand, very early in the creation process (because geography affects people). I make it as good as I can, then when it’s time for the publishing, I send it in to my publisher, and they send it to an artist to clean it up a bit (or a lot).

  9. Tyler Hodson says:

    I was wondering how you go about writing your action scenes? I’ve read the Night Angel Trilogy multiple times (it’s my favorite series honestly), and I love your descriptions of Kylar’s fights. I’m writing a fantasy story with much of the same essence as yours, and I figured I’d ask your advice on this. Thanks!

  10. Tyler Hodson says:

    I was wondering how you go about writing your action scenes? I’ve read the Night Angel Trilogy multiple times (it’s my favorite series honestly), and I love your descriptions of Kylar’s fights. I’m writing a fantasy story with much of the same essence as yours, and I figured I’d ask your advice on this. Thanks!

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