At our RomantiCon convention in October, we had a popular workshop on "So You Want to Be an Author?" We asked each published author in attendance to give a few tips to aspiring authors. There was some great information, including stuff useful to other pubbed authors.
We're extending that concept to our audience here at Redlines & Deadlines. We've interviewed some of our Ellora's Cave authors, and will be posting their advice and tips.
To kick it off, here is the combined wisdom from ECPI editors, things we want to tell aspiring authors to encourage and help them. And again, useful for pubbed authors too.
Advice from ECPI Editors
Treat this as a profession, and earn your “degree”. Attend classes and workshops on writing novels: how to structure a story, POV, internal and external conflict, the black moment, the sagging middle, world building, character growth, research sources…
BICFOK – Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard.
Keep trying, be persistent, ask for honest opinions of your work and learn from mistakes.
Critique groups can be invaluable, but find and join the right kind for you. What is the group’s purpose: social networking, support and encouragement, or blunt critiquing?
Get a good, honest critique partner who isn’t afraid to say what s/he thinks.
Get—and use—a really good basic writing book on grammar and punctuation, a thesaurus, and an unabridged dictionary (online).
Make your submission sparkling clean! NO typos or grammatical or spelling errors. Have several skilled people proofread it; pay a professional proofer if necessary.
You’ve written your first book? Box it up and put it under the bed. It’s impossible to look objectively or critically at something you’ve just slaved over for months or years. Then write another book. When you’re done with book two, go back and reread book one. Do you still think it’s a good, well-written story?
Read lots of books in your chosen genre. Analyze why you like them, what draws you.
A story cannot be compelling if the characters are underdeveloped. Spend a lot of time getting to know your characters before writing about them.
Research, research, research—whether the story is historical or contemporary.
For paranormals and fantasies, do detailed world-building and keep a “bible”.
Don’t use names readers can’t pronounce and spell.
Read, Write, Submit. Read in your chosen genre and as many how-to books on craft as you can. Write constantly—every day, whether it’s for 10 minutes or 10 hours. Submit—you won’t get published if you don’t send it out.