Friday, July 11, 2008

Advice for the Aspiring Author

by Helen Woodall

I asked a chat loop of published authors what was the one piece of advice they would give an aspiring /beginning author. Interestingly, almost all of them said “Keep writing. Believe in yourself”. But they added other pieces of wisdom as well.

~ Don’t rewrite the first chapter a bazillion times. Finish your book and don’t give up. ~ Brynn Paulin

~Persevere, develop a thick skin, get a blog and invest in your greatest vice as it will get you through the hard times. ~ Amarinda Jones

~Just write! Anything. And keep writing. ~ Terri Beckett

~A writer goes through three phases when putting together a book. First time around he writes for himself. The second time, he writes for his audience. The third time, he writes for his friends - meaning that the writer is finally comfortable with the story. ~ Cara Lyle

~Write the book of your heart. The one that means something to you. It will show. And then revise, edit and polish. Listen to CPs, contest judges and editors, and edit again. Develop your voice. It’s what grabs a reader and makes her come back to an author. ~ Mona Risk

~Vince Flynn, NY Times best selling author of political thrillers and a good friend said, “Give yourself permission to write a crummy first draft. The goal is to get the story down on paper, then work with it.”

~ The author John Lescroart said: “Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t filling pages. If you write just one page a day, at the end of the year you have a book.”

~ Find a good critique group where you can learn to polish your craft. And never, ever give up. ~ Desiree Holt

~ A professor at the University of Iowa told me, “Write what you know.”
Let the characters tell the story, at their own pace and in their own way. ~ Julia Barrett

~ If five people tell you the same thing that’s wrong with a manuscript then it’s a good chance you should change it. Sometimes we are married to our own thought patterns and it makes us stubborn. ~ Patt Mihailoff

~ Don’t quit. It’s really just that simple. Keep writing, revising, submitting, and sooner or later, the right book will land in the right hands. ~ Cindy Spencer Pape

~ Learn to accept rejection gracefully and don’t be discouraged. Keep sending out that manuscript and search out a good critique group, either in your community or on-line. ~ Regina Carlysle

~ Develop your own voice. Write the story you’re really burning to write. Write every day, even if it’s only your name. Read, read, read... read every day. ~ Anny Cook

~ Never give up, never surrender! Persistence! ~ Kathy Kulig

~ Don’t let anyone, whether family or friends, steal your dream of writing. ~ Charlene Leatherman

~ There will be those around you who share in your happiness and those who you thought were your closest friends or even mentors who will do everything they can to cut you down, to fill you full of self-doubts. Those people are toxic. Learn who they are quickly and surround yourself with other friends who will share your joys and sorrows and support you and your words. ~ Taylor Tryst

~ Listen to those who love you over those who don’t. Send that manuscript out one more time. ~ Jacqueline Roth

~ Read the latest releases in the specific genre in which you’re trying to write and from the publisher you want to go with. Pay attention to how the most compelling writers show their characters, how much plot vs. how much romance, how much narrative vs. how much dialogue. Find critiquers who are better writers than you and who will be willing to teach you the tricks of the trade. Attend workshops, then use what makes sense to you and try to learn more about the things you didn’t quite understand. ~ Janice Bennett

~ Write to please yourself; write what you love. Don’t try to write to a specific market because industry gossip says it’s hot. Trends are cyclical. If you wait long enough, the reading public will come back to the genre you love. But be open to a fresh approach. ~ Joanna Waugh

~ If you write one page a day, you’ll have a 100,000 word novel in just one year. Participate in a critique group that has people you can learn from. Readers read books to experience emotion - be sure you show the emotions of your characters. ~ Mary Ann Chulick

~ Don’t expect to come into the industry and make immediate sales. It requires fostering your image and promotion. Get out there and promote yourself with the tenacity of a bulldog and then hope for the best. ~ Kelly Kirch

~ Don’t change your voice to suit anyone. Your voice will find a home somewhere it’s understood and appreciated. ~ Marianne Stephens

~ Write it and move on to the next one. When finished with your second, go back to the first novel and read it with a discerning eye once it’s cold. ~ Rena Marks

~ Write every day if you can, even if it’s just a few sentences. Also, don’t write trends, write what’s in your heart. ~ Katie Reus


Anonymous said...

I printed this out; quite helpful. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Great advice. I'm forwarding this to my RWA chapter

Unknown said...

What a wise bunch of people

Phoenix said...

Wow. Don't we sound brilliant? Must be the effects of a great editor.

anny cook said...

Frogs unite!

Mona Risk said...

Did we give all these great advice?

Marianne Stephens said...

All very sound advice...from lots of good sources! Great job putting this together!

Anonymous said...

Write every day! Okay, I will do that although it's summertime and the weather is glorious and I'd rather be outside. I will do one page for sure.