Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If anyone sees Zakes Mda please give him a hug from me, and tell him I admire him so much. His Ways of Dying is bad ass good. And here is another reason I admire him: His suggestions on how to write. Here are his ten tips:
1. Show, don’t tell. Humbug! You do need to tell as well. Effective storytelling is a balancing act between showing and telling, otherwise all stories would be in real time.

Anyway I disagree with him on some aspect of Nr. 7., and here is it: "....However if a novel doesn’t engage you in the first five pages discard it. Life is too short."

This is exactly what I did with Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon about five years ago, then again about three years ago, then again last year. I finally got over the first fifty pages, and Good Lawd, what a book. If anyone hasn't read Song of Solomon, please drop whatever you're doing, go and get it and read. Be prepared to yawn over the first thirty-something pages. But after that it's all tender lamb sirloin and red wine and a good chat... and whatever else follows.

2. Well, see the original here.

1 comment:

  1. I was interested to see number 9 -- have lots of kids -- since Richard Ford's rule number 2 was "Don't have children."

    An acquaintance of mine was taken aback by this one: "Do not place a photograph of your-­favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide."