Ok, well, when you end up punching your own face in a parking lot, don't say I didn't warn you.
Tomorrow, I'm going to have a guest blogger, Rayne Hall. She'll be teaching a workshop on 'Writing Fight Scenes', which starts on 1 June 2011: www.romance-ffp.com/event.cfm?EventID=303 and she's going to give us a little taste. And no, I don't get a kickback for signing up people for the class, I just can't stress enough how much I recommend Rayne as a writing mentor.
Rayne has been one of my online buddy friends for a while. We were both on the Online Writers Workshop together, and I also continue to belong to a smaller, more select group of professional authors that she runs, called, cleverly enough, the Professional Authors. The purpose of the group is to help authors who have made one or two sales make the leap to a full time career earning a living wage as a writer.
On Joe Konrath's blog, he was discussing recently the rule of 10,000.
I'm currently reading a book that was recommended to me by my buddy Henry Perez, called Outliers: The Story of Success. It mentions the 10,000 Hour Rule. In short, no one becomes an expert at something without having invested 10,000 hours in it.How do you become an expert at something? You put in the time. One way or another. Two common ways of putting it for writers are in hours and words. You write a million words. You work 10,000 hours at it. But there is one other important thing we shouldn't overlook. You also have to allow yourself time to absorb the rules of writing.
I found it interesting to apply this to my career. It took me twelve years to become published. While holding down a fulltime job, I still managed to write over a million words during that time--roughly 15 to 20 hours a week. Guess what? That's 10,000 hours.
Yes, ultimately, we learn by writing. There is no substitute for BIC-HOK: Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. But unless you have infinity, you don't want to bang away randomly like a mathematician's monkey aping Shakespeare. You absorb the rules of writing in two ways, by reading, reading and reading, and by analyzing what you read. You exchange critiques with other writers.
There's a point at which most writers get burnt out on writer's classes, writer's blogs, critique groups, and all that jazz. After a while, you absorb the rules to such an extent that you don't need them anymore. That's natural, and all to the good, but don't make the mistake of thinking that classes and critique groups aren't worth it. At a certain stage along your journey, study can make the difference between someone who dabbles for fun and someone who is serious about perfecting their craft.
I've taken some of Rayne's classes, and she is an awesome teacher. She will hold your hand if you need it, but also kick your ass until you deliver the best damn scene you can. I highly recommend her class, Writing Fight Scenes.