My Own List of Essentials

One of the key things about Jack Kerouac List of Essentials I blogged about earlier today was that it was for him, for no one else, it was something he taped above his keyboard and used for inspiration. Too many people on the writery blogosphere tend to dish out commandments, telling people how to write, how to behave, what they think the golden key to success is and how to grasp it and hold it close. The following is nothing like that. This is my own list for what I want, how to achieve it, how to go about it, how to make it new unique and interesting. This is not for you.

  • Write like each word is burning a hole inside of you
  • Never forget the losses of life and always seek for a way to return to innocence (even though that is not possible)
  • Use sentences like they are meant to be used, talk like you talk but on the page
  • Endings are not endings but ways of closure, and the story should exist after the last page, it should keep going on
  • Write to be re-read over and over again
  • Write in a way that brings your readers in closer and further and feel like the story is their own
  • If a subject makes you uncomfortable, pursue it
  • There is no reality on the page, you’re not attempting to create reality
  • Dreams and memories are important, emotional context is important
  • Have characters that talk like you know they should talk
  • The text is not the whole world and an enclosed space, it is larger than that
  • Don’t write for money, don’t write for fame, don’t chase after other people’s thoughts or ideas but instead keep going, keep running, just write to write to write to write
  • If you see a rule of writing break it
  • If you hear a rule of writing break it
  • If someone tells you how to write, break them
  • Don’t try and force a character to be something they’re not in any way, since not everyone is the same and not everyone is active or passive or any thing other than what they are
  • Grasp for humanity, fall short, grasp again
  • Plot is not plot is not plot is not plot is nothing can’t be anything can’t be what it’s about, a plot is a mechanical device meant to constrict, meant to force you into something that doesn’t exist, smash the walls of plot
  • If something isn’t working cut it up, rearrange it, push it into different directions
  • Don’t name your characters unless you absolutely have to, and once you do don’t let the basic concepts of what a name is confine you.
  • Write with rhythm write with sound write with music write with beat write with short and long sentences, write without any words at all write with random letters strung together into guttural noises, write with onomatopoeia’s so everything goes click click bang shuttersnap
  • You are a madman everyday
  • Never forget. Always remember. Remembering is what makes us human.
  • Even the way we hurt other people. Push that pin into that wound, dig up the blood, watch it dripdrip on the page and write about the patterns it forms
  • Books are not movies, they’re not poetry, they’re not anything but what they are. Write in a way that cannot be done in any other medium.
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