We’ve talked to a good few writers and know this: their exuberant, creative side tends to be offset with an introverted side.
Occupational hazard? Writers spend a great deal of time hanging out with the voices in their heads.
The introverted trait in creative personalities is understandable because most writers just want to get down to the business of writing.
Cormac McCarthy thinks so:
“I don’t think it’s good for your head – if you spend a lot of time writing about a book, you probably shouldn’t be talking about it, you should be doing it.”
Yes, you should be doing it [writing] but you also need to be doing it on a grand scale – you have to show off your extrovert side in your first 10 pages.
8 look-at-me writing tricks
1. Introduce your main character
Do it with complete and utter confidence.
2. Tell the reader
What the story is about? Don’t hide behind the prose.
3. Share your problems
Do highlight any tension, drama, desires or emotional clues that are key to the story.
4. Grab your reader
Don’t leave them standing there. Take them on a journey they’ll never forget.
5. Cast a storyline hook
Do make sure you’ve got an “I-need-to-know-what-happens-next” situation.
6. Be authoritative
Do reassure the reader that you know exactly where you’re going with the plot. No one wants to end up lost.
7. Start as you mean to go on
Be first off the starting line with a relevant, powerful, engaging first sentence.
8. Spoil the reader with a rare diamond
Give them something precious, a piece of fiction no one has read before.
Introvert by nature, extrovert on paper
J.D. Salinger wrote The Catcher in the Rye. As the book’s popularity grew, Salinger withdrew into his writer’s shell. “No unwanted attention” became the door sign to his life. He was the antithesis of an over-sharing modern celebrity and yet never lost legions of literary fans along the way.
Harper Lee wrote To Kill A Mockingbird. Lee didn’t completely withdraw from public life after the publication of TKAM but she didn’t exactly plaster herself all over the press either – interviews were few and far between. The feverish fan attention after Mockingbird’s success was, no doubt, too much pressure in a writer’s life or perhaps Lee simply lived by her own quote: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.”
Cormac McCarthy wrote All The Pretty Horses. McCarthy definitely prefers writing over talking about writing – interviews are not high on his wishlist. He has written books and screenplays and has his own distinct writing style thus proving he’s a leader, not a follower.