March 12, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know


So, going along with last week's question about your favorite writing craft book, when you started out writing, did you later learn something you wished you knew from the beginning?  I know I sure wish I knew how not to head hop...how to format a manuscript....how to write a query letter....how not to just send in a manuscript cold.....

So, what’s your number one advice to a new writer?


Never let your memories be greater than your dreams. ~Doug Ivester 

19 comments:

Carole St-Laurent said...

Oh gosh, there are so many things I wish I knew when I started writing. The fact that English is not my first language is certainly a challenge.

I wish I'd know that omniscient POV is not quite the thing these days...

Anonymous said...

Develop a thick skin.

John Foxjohn
www.johnfoxjohnhome.com
August 2013 Berkley true crime—Killer Nurse

Lani said...

When I finally admitted that I wanted to become a writer, take into consideration that I was writing as soon as I could latch onto a crayon, the advice I got was rather odd. I was told by another writer that I would probably never make any money at what I did; that continuous rejection was guarenteed; and eventually I would want to give up. What she didn't tell me was how amazing and encouraging editors and agents are, even when they rejected me; how while learning the craft of writing I would meet other writers who are now my closest friends; and lastly, what it feels like to be told by a reader that they were moved by my book. I would say to a new writer, Please, don't give up. Learn the craft so your voice can ring out as clearly as possible, but mostly so it will be rung out!

Cheri Jetton said...

A word for new writers? Workshops! College credit is great, but if you're writing popular fiction take workshops from writers of the genre.

Overconfidence is a trap for many nhew writers as well. You must learn the rules before you can break them. Yes, Nora Roberts head-hops, but YOU are not Nora and aren't going to get paid to copy her.

Learn the rules, follow them to the best of your ability and write the best story you know how. Spelling, punctuation and grammar should all be correct. (The exception is dialog. Your characters may speak any way you want them to.) Hope this helps!

Susan M said...

Always keep learning. Take classes, go to workshops, read craft books, and study how others write. Never think you know how it should be done.

Meb Bryant said...

Read authors who write in the genres that you want to write in. Buy a good book on rules of grammar. Join the local chapter of a writers' group and form a critique group. Attend workshops.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, everyone! Thanks for all the great tips. I agree with them all. POV is so important and my first two books are horrible. I think I head hopped inside paragraphs. Learn the craft....writer's groups are a big help and Romance Writers of America is a fantastic group to join. And as John said, develop a thick skin...not everyone is going to like your baby.

ellaquinnauthor said...

Sorry I'm so late. Headhopping is a biggie, as is the bias against omnicient POV in our genre.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

For those new writers out there who are wondering - omnicient POV is when the author gets into everyone's head and tells us all their POVs. So that each scene would be from someone different each time. Usually in romance, however, you only get into the heads or POV of the hero and heroine and maybe the villain's.

Lana Williams said...

Everyone has given great advice! I would second the idea of a writer always growing and learning. And my next advice would be to fit writing in every day, even if it is only for 15 minutes! Keeping the story in your mind will let your subconscious noodle things around, even when you're not writing. Great conversation, Anna!

Teri Thackston said...

One of my best pieces of advice is to make sure it's clear who is speaking in each scene. No matter whose POV you're writing from, use tags or action to clarify which character is speaking. Of course, you shouldn't write 'he said' or 'she said' over and over again (that can get tedious), but do add something to make it clear who is speaking so the reader doesn't get confused.

Sandy L. Rowland said...

Read what you want to write. Gain a support group and an awesome critique partner. These are invaluable when you think you'll never get it right. You will, but it takes determined effort. Never give up. Writing is a continual learning process.Take classes on craft. You will get better.
Write and write more.

Terry Irene Blain said...

As many said, take classes and keep learning. But, the hard part is actually carving our time to dedicate to your writing. As women we usually put others before us (husband, kids, work, etc.). Remember, YOU are important, and you deserve your time.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I qualify as a new writer although some days I feel like it. However, wished I'd had some of this advice when I began, or the wisdom to learn from it.

John Foxjohn
www.johnfoxjohnhome.com
August 2013 Berkley true crime—Killer Nurse

Gerri Bowen said...

All very good advice. Take classes, read the books in your genre that are selling, know that good writing comes after re-writing.

Ginger Simpson said...

I blogged about the most important thing I would share, and that's do research before you sign on the dotted line. Your best source of information about how a publisher treats their authors are the other authors signed there. Remember, getting into a bad contract is sort of like getting out of a nasty divorce. Make sure you find a good fit for you and your work before you agree...and READ the contract thoroughly...watch out for the "right of renewal" clause.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Everyone has put out some very good advice and I have little to add except that to be successful, you have to actually write. Write every day even if it's just a letter or a blog, but write.
Keeping a writer's journal has helped me so much during the years. I take my pocket journal with me every where I go to jot down interesting things I see and bits of conversation I overhear. I've used my journal to spark my muse when I've run dry.
I also agree with Ginger about publishers. Before you submit to a publisher, know something about them. You can find critiques of publishers at Piers Anthony's Internet Publisher site and by reading Cindi Myers newsletter about publishers.
I wish all new writers and aspiring writers success and happiness.

Tanya Hanson said...

Google your writing name. I did not and therefore share cyberspace with a porn star. Sheesh.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Tanya, so does another writing friend of mine....so you're in good company. But this is good advice, if you're going to use a pen name, check it out before you're committed to it.