Today, I welcome Alicia Bien, comedy writer, performer and wine lover, to Daily (w)rite to dole out some writing advice, which she does in her humorous, chatty writing voice. Take it away, Alicia!
“I want to write a book about Mount Everest,” I said staring at the world’s highest peak on the television screen.
“Okay,” said my husband flipping through the TV channels.
“Or maybe I’ll write about midwifery in the Middle Ages.”
“Or the Big Bang Theory. Not the TV show but the actual theory.”
My husband was subtle but I knew what his hesitant “okays” really meant: Don’t touch those subjects with a 10-foot pole. Which was not to say these potential book topics were uninteresting, unmarketable or unenlightened. Rather it was his just his way of saying that yours truly didn’t know enough about any of them to write anything new without doing a decade’s worth of monk-like, committed research. This advice was writer’s gold. In fact, during the process of writing my book, Evolution of a Wine Drinker, several tips proved helpful.
1) Write what you love. Growing up in a small town I broke several bones and experienced a nasty car accident that left me nervous to drive for months. Yes, I “knew” these subjects but I didn’t want to immerse myself in their worlds to write a book about any of them. Instead I needed to write about something that I was passionate about. I’ve been drinking vino since I took a college course on it and to this day I still get excited discussing, decanting and drinking wine.
2) Embrace Structure. Books are like houses, they have a foundation and a structure that holds them up. I chose an alphabetical structure where each chapter focused on one element of wine that referred to a letter of the alphabet. The book starts with “Drinking Alone”, moves onto “Cool Chicks and Bottles”, then ends with “Zinfandel”. Once I had this A-Z structure, it clarified the path and let me focus on the exciting part: the writing.
3) Use your voice. As a head writer for a sketch show in Hollywood I dig writing comedy and dialogue and wanted to use these elements paired with my own comedic voice to write about wine. In this manner I could add something new to the canon of wine writing. Or at least have fun while doing it.
These gold nuggets of advice successfully guided me while writing my wine book. And I’ll be using them again on my next project, which just might be a book about The Big Bang Theory–the TV show not the actual theory!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alicia Bien’s book “Evolution of a Wine Drinker” is now available at Amazon.com. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and adopted cat. Visit the author online at her Blog and follow on at Twitter @aliciabien