Why You Should Follow @Joe_Hill on Twitter

July 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

I have a confession: I don’t read Joe Hill’s books. I’ve read a couple of his short stories at the insistence of my wife (who is a huge Joe Hill fan), but none of his novels. I think this will be changing soon, however, based on how entertaining and valuable I find his Twitter feed.

Hill, who tweets from @Joe_Hill, is an avid Twitter user. I began following  him after my wife shared some writing advice he tweeted, and I’ve kept following him because he is often very funny. I like funny.

Last night, Hill was being funny. This morning, however, Joe decided to drop more pearls of writing wisdom on his followers. I retweeted each one, but Twitter is rather ephemeral, so I am going to post them here, where I can come back and find them when I want to. Oh, and also for you guys.

Here’s what Hill said:

I feel like when you write fiction you’re in the ideas business. You need a fresh idea every day. Which is why I’m against outlines.

Once you’ve got your story mapped out, the good ideas phase is over. But good ideas aren’t just a starting point.

Comic book artists like @GR_comics and Zach Howard understand this as a matter of course. Every panel has a good idea in it, visually.

They aren’t happy if they aren’t doing something that blows the reader’s socks off. What made you think it’d be different for a writer?

Think of 5 different ways to do the next scene. Bet idea 4 is fresher’n what you had. The plan you made last month is a recipe for average.

As I think I’ve said before, I’m a big fan of outlines. But I’m also not a bestselling writer, and Joe Hill is. So I’m thinking the next book I write, I’ll give it a shot without an outline and see what happens.

In fact, I think I’ll go start writing that book right now.

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§ 2 Responses to Why You Should Follow @Joe_Hill on Twitter

  • I’m with you, as a hardcord outliner, his advice makes me cringe… I like tight, concise, non-meandering storylines that wrap up all nice and neat at the end. Preferably with a brain-smacking theme. I feel that there are PLENTY of opportunities to re-envision how a scene will go down without feeling stifled by overall plan. But, yeah, if you’re 9-5 was writing then maybe an outline wouldn’t be as critical 🙂

    • The best novel I wrote also had the most detailed outline beforehand. But when I wrote the outline, I basically just wrote freely in the way that Hill suggests, so … I’m willing to give it a shot. Can’t hurt, right?

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