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 Warning, seeing as I am unpublished, and have no real prospects, be wary of putting any of my principles into practice.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

10 comments:

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...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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?

Stephen Tremp 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.
@MM--huzzah.

dbs said...

I need my own list. Thanks.