Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Munk Rules! -An Off Cycle Blog Post-

Cheryl Klein of the Brooklyn Arden inspired me this morning. She, being quite principled herself, began a new section on her blog called "Other People's Principles." Her goal is to compile a list of lists. Apologies for the redundancies, but a principle list of listed principles is inherently redundant, unless of course you are Dr. Suess, at which point it becomes a Star Infested Pundonkey. Anyway, Ms. Klein has requested that any of her readers who feel up to it, write a list of principles on writing. So did I and so should you. Perhaps all of you "A to Z" bloggers can adopt a German accent and create "Zee" list for your Saturday post. Warning, seeing as I am unpublished, and have no real prospects, be wary of putting any of my principles into practice.  

Munk’s List on Writing
Regarding expectations: Write to reach someone, but not everyone.
Regarding conventions: Avoid the entrapments of genre, write a story.
Regarding details: Sweat the little stuff and the big stuff: words, sentences, punctuation, characters, plot, theme… all of it.
Regarding craft: Face your weaknesses. Never stop growing, but pace yourself. Opt for daily reflections over weeklong immersions, growth is time consuming and effortful.
Regarding reviews: Listen hardest to those whom you respect the most, but ignore the others at your peril (I wish I had an editor to instruct me on the proper use of ‘whom’).
Regarding age appropriateness: Write to your audience in theme only, avoid restricted vocabulary (except in character voice).
Regarding absolutism: Never follow a tip beginning with the word ‘never’ (yes, this means you Elmore). Break rules.
Regarding inspiration: Write with purpose or with joy, or both.
Regarding editors: Secure council that possesses passion and energy—and nothing to lose.                                         
Regarding lists: Make your own.

I am a big fan of Ms. Klein, aside from being a Potterologist (I’ll let you scour her website to understand that reference) and an editor for Arthur A. Levine, a Scholastic imprint, she spends much of her time helping people understand the craft of writing. I find her writing on writing pragmatic, value rich, and entertaining. She connects many of my free radical Zots.

Check her website, if you like what you see, I recommend you buy her book, Second Sight. I carry two books in my backpack when I write: hers and “Strunk and White”. 

Do you have a list?

Munk’s opening line,
I can’t be redundant; I’m the only one who knows how to fly the plane. 
Munk's "Opening Line" is yours to keep, use it. Munk


Libby said...

Nice list. Also, I love the God is not a bestselling author. :)

L.G.Smith said...

Regarding your list: Okay, that's a pretty good list.

I used to check in on Cheryl Klein's blog when I was writing MG stuff. She's been a great resource for writers. Someone else was raving about her book. Might have been Nathan Bransford. I'll have to check it out.

Michael Offutt said...
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D. U. Okonkwo said...

You have a definite list here, don't you? Good stuff.

I'll need to check out her blog, thanks!

Munk said...

@LH--you teed up a joke there, but I will resist the urge to swing.
@LG--We all need different guideposts at different times in our lives, right now I am definitely learning from Ms. Klein's perspective.
@DUO--thanks, it surprised me how quickly it spilled onto the page, I think if I'd had time to ruminate I would risk over editing.

Lydia K said...

I like your list. It is similar to mine and yet...different.

How's that for a Munkism?

Anonymous said...

I don't have a list but I follow your first step in targeting a group of people rather than everyone.

Matthew MacNish said...

I love these. Especially the bit about ignoring genre conventions in the interest of story.

Nothing should stand in the way of a great story.

Munk said...

@LK--I imagine I'd like your list as well, in a different way.
@ST--Like a sniper.

dbs said...

I need my own list. Thanks.