Monday, June 4, 2012

Writing Tips From Barack Obama

Contained within David Maraniss' new biography "Barack Obama: The Story," are these writing tips from a young Obama, given to a friend who had sent him a manuscript. It's pretty good advice.

1) "Careful about too many adverbs, particularly describing how people speak (Paul asked disbelievingly, etc.). It can be cumbersome and a bit intrusive on the reader."
2) "Resist the temptation of easy satire. ... Good satire has to be a little muted. Should spill out from under a seemingly somber situation."
3) "Try to get the basic stats on the characters out of the way early {Paul was 24} so that you can spend the rest of the story revealing character."
4) "Think about the key moment(s) in the story, and build tension leading to those key moments."
5) "[W]rite outside your own experience. ... I find that this works the fictive imagination harder."

Don't forget that Tainted Souls is free for the asking at Smashwords, until I change my mind.

4 comments:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

What excellent advice from a President, of all people! I especially like the "Key Moments" one. Thank you for your comment on my blog. It sparked my post for tomorrow and Wednesday. I added a link to your blog. I hope it brings you more visitors. Roland

Steven J. Wangsness said...

Thanks, Roland!

Roland said...

That's some pretty great advice from a "young Obama." How young are we talking about? Thanks!

Steven J. Wangsness said...

It's a day for Rolands! I think in college still, at Columbia. Either that or just out of college.