Guy Smith: 3 Things I Know Now That I Wish I Knew Then

Guy Smith is a San Francisco-based writer, songwriter and political provocateur. He is the author of four books and many op/ed pieces, some of which have appeared in publications like “The San Francisco Chronicle.”

  • In fiction, voice matters almost as much as dialogue. Since stories relate texture (as well as plot, conflict, etc.), authentic voices make fictional passages much more vivid. Even incidental characters should have a voice, and you can swipe them from overheard conversations.
  • In narrative non-fiction, voice also matters. Reciting facts and analysis can put people to sleep. Daring to put your own voice into your work, to make it sound like you do (or would like to sound) takes guts but it pays.
  • Offend people. You can never make everyone happy, so be happy to make some of them unhappy. Tell stories or write essays that make a point, take a stand and challenge conventional wisdom (which often is an oxymoron).