Your Best Advice to a New Writer

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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dios4vida
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by dios4vida » February 11th, 2012, 2:18 pm

guichizango wrote:...I still don't feel as though I have enough to contribute.
Most of us don't feel like we have a lot to contribute. We're all still learning, but the beauty of this forum is that what we know, someone doesn't know and vice versa. Even if you don't feel like what you have to say is really that profound, say it anyways!! One of the best way to learn is to talk, contribute, share, and glean. We'd love to hear what you have to say, whether or not you think it's "enough to contribute".
Moni12 wrote:Advice inspired by my Creative Writing class is don't take the advice to seriously. It's recommended to use it, but just remember you can take it or leave it as you see fit.
^^ This!! Totally this. Yay for advice, take it all in, but remember that if it really doesn't work for you, leave it. Your personal writing style is unique, so not all advice works for everyone. I'd suggest to try it all, but if it's not working, ditch it.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Sanderling
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by Sanderling » February 12th, 2012, 3:01 am

Sommer Leigh wrote:So, I've noticed the boards have gotten aweful quiet lately ...
Funny you said that, Sommer; I'd been thinking the same thing. I'd pop in, there'd be nothing new, I'd wander off... and then I got busy with other things and kept forgetting to wander back. Now when I came back, suddenly it looks like the boards have gotten busyish again. :)

As for my advice to new writers, I'm a big proponent of Heinlein's Five/Sawyer's Six/My own eight:

1. Write.
2. Finish what you start.
3. Refrain from constantly fiddling with it.
4. Put it on the market (eg. start querying it).
5. Keep it on the market until it is sold.
6. Start working on something new.
7. Have patience. [Every stage of writing/publishing takes longer than you think it should.]
8. Persevere.

Also: Get a critique partner. Or two. There's only so far you can take your manuscript yourself, no matter how closely you examine it or how much time you spend on it; a good CP can help you get it the rest of the way.

But: Listen to advice from others, do your research, and weigh what everyone says carefully... but in the end, go with your gut and be true to yourself. Only you know how your story is supposed to be.
My blog / Twitter
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"Because if you have at least a modicum of talent and if you live by these six rules, you will make it."
--Robert J. Sawyer, speaking here of Heinlein's Rules.

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SteevO
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by SteevO » February 12th, 2012, 3:50 pm

Thanks to all who've posted in this thread. As someone who is extremely green in the writing depatment, I'm learning a lot. And when I say green, I mean it. I'm 34 years old, and haven't written since my last high school English essay!!!! :mrgreen:
SteevO
The best things in life, aren't things at all.....

Gypson
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by Gypson » February 13th, 2012, 3:55 pm

I really like this thread! And SteevO, I wish you the best of luck!

Advice that I would give:

1. Write something that interests you. Don't worry too much about audience or what you think other people want to read. Write what YOU like and have fun with it.

2. Books about writing can help you only so much. Most of what these books discuss is stuff you'll learn from experience anyway. Read writer's resources, yes, but don't feel obligated to take everything to heart. No matter how much you "study", you will still make mistakes, and that's okay.

3. Be very discerning in who you let read/review your work. If you expect feedback, be specific in what feedback you want to receive. (ex. I write out questionnaires.)

4. Don't be afraid to try something new, to start a new draft, to replace a character, to fail. Each challenge in the writing process presents an opportunity.

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JonGibbs
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by JonGibbs » February 15th, 2012, 5:56 am

Figure out what works best for you, then do that...a lot :)
Born in England, writer, Jon Gibbs, now lives in the USA. He can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

An Englishman in New Jersey http://jongibbs.livejournal.com

trixie
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by trixie » February 15th, 2012, 11:14 pm

Sanderling wrote:Also: Get a critique partner. Or two. There's only so far you can take your manuscript yourself, no matter how closely you examine it or how much time you spend on it; a good CP can help you get it the rest of the way.
Yes. I totally agree with Seabrooke on this. If you don't think your work is ready for a full crit partner, that's just fine. Then see about swapping 3-4 chapters with someone else just to get used to giving your stuff out and getting some feedback. If I could go back and do it all over again, I wouldn't have waited so long to share my stuff. It's nowhere near perfect, but getting feedback has helped my writing improve.

Also, the one thing that really helped me was never being afraid to ask myself "What if..." I have a notebook for each of my books that I carry around, to and from work every day while working on that story. I have page after page of "What if I did this..." questions. What if my MC was different? What if my setting was this, not that? In my journal, I have the freedom to ask all the questions in the back of my head but without rewriting major sections of the story.

Read.
Keep writing.
And use forums like this to ask any questions you want. I think it was Claudie who said we were all noobs at one point.

Thanks for the topic, Sommer. This was good!

CordeliaEthel
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by CordeliaEthel » May 11th, 2012, 3:40 am

Try to plan on self-publishing and keep up with technology that certain to publish. Learn how to layout ebooks. If you write non-fiction, learn how to find neglected niches, how to optimize titles, descriptions, and other metadata for search engines. Serve your fans and followers, and don’t harm anyone.

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Hillsy
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by Hillsy » May 11th, 2012, 4:09 am

Regardless of your personal opinions, Dragons believe they DO need that much gold. Don't think relieving them of some will either 1) go unnoticed, or 2) be too trifling an issue for a 'Mighty' dragon to bother with. Those suckers are like the Inland Revenue and the Goldman Sachs Head Accountant rolled into one.

Also:
- Never go out into the woods alone to investigate a strange noise
- Real Lions arn't for cuddling
- Don't put Jam on a Magnet

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Hillsy
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by Hillsy » May 11th, 2012, 5:01 am

Oh and if anyone uses to word "perfection" or "perfect" in advice to you, beat them.

It is absolutely imperative you deliver some form of physical lesson upon their persons. Repeatedly. Or, if you lack the necessary martial arts training (Karate, Judo, Kendo, Combat Geometry…etc) with which to deliver your message, then walk away at once with so much as a ‘by your leave’. These people are either idiots, or worse are wilfully saying something meaningless in the effort to sound profound and charismatic.

Them: “Revise each sentence until it’s absolutely perfect.”
Me: “That’s a ridiculous statement. Writing quality is subjective for a start, not to mention there are insufficient qualitative measures to tell apart, with any real degree of accuracy, two brilliant sentences from each other. Also there’s the issue of context, voice, readers mood. I could work in a sentence for WEEKS and still not know if it’s the best it ever, ever, ever, ever could be. And that’s assuming I have the knowledge and ability to make something ‘perfect’ i.e. to be the best person in the world at writing that sentence”
Them: “Oh….well…I didn’t mean it literally, you know. I meant when it’s, you know, good enough.”
Me: “How do you know when it’s good enough?
Them: “When it’s….ummm…..perfect?”
Me: “You’re about to get every Jackie Chan film ever made all up in your face…”
*Commence Beating*

longknife

Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by longknife » May 11th, 2012, 12:06 pm

Gypson wrote:I really like this thread! And SteevO, I wish you the best of luck!

Advice that I would give:

1. Write something that interests you. Don't worry too much about audience or what you think other people want to read. Write what YOU like and have fun with it.

2. Books about writing can help you only so much. Most of what these books discuss is stuff you'll learn from experience anyway. Read writer's resources, yes, but don't feel obligated to take everything to heart. No matter how much you "study", you will still make mistakes, and that's okay.

3. Be very discerning in who you let read/review your work. If you expect feedback, be specific in what feedback you want to receive. (ex. I write out questionnaires.)

4. Don't be afraid to try something new, to start a new draft, to replace a character, to fail. Each challenge in the writing process presents an opportunity.
Darn! :evil: You stole my post!!! :lol:

longknife

Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by longknife » May 11th, 2012, 12:09 pm

Mt own comment:

Even if you're writing fiction, GET IT RIGHT!
Research. Then research some more. And, when you think you're finished, research even more.

I just finished the third of four novels in a series and spent as my time researching as I did writing. Now, I'm in the editing/revising stage and am STILL conducting research!

8-)

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wordranger
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by wordranger » May 11th, 2012, 9:28 pm

The best piece of advice I got was from a published author who told me "You're not as good as you think you are, but you're probably not as bad as you think you are either."

Everyone should find a beta reader or two, or three, or NINE. I had nine people read my most recent story before I submitted it. A little tweek here and there, each one found something different... I took some of their advice, and set some of it aside... and now I'm being published. :D

If you don't have a beta reader, hop on over to the "Looking for a Critique Partner" section and find a few. You won't be sorry.
Words are your friend.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in them.

Jennifer Eaton, WordRanger
My Novelette LAST WINTER RED will be published by J. Taylor Publishing in December, 2012

Take a Step into My World and Learn From My Mistakes http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

robertpiazza
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by robertpiazza » July 7th, 2012, 6:44 am

Avoid grammatical mistakes, and make good writing skill through continuous reading. Writing practice and reading are the main tips for improving writing skill. I would say: "Just write and don`t think too much about the opinions of others!"

LizV
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Re: Your Best Advice to a New Writer

Post by LizV » July 10th, 2012, 11:18 am

Moni12 already touched on my favorite advice, but I'll say it anyway:

They're not so much rules, as guidelines.

Pretty much all of the "rules" of writing started out as reminders not to overuse something, but they tend to ossify into absolutes. "Don't overdo ____" becomes "Don't ever do ____," to everyone's detriment. I think a lot of new writers get hung up on trying to follow the "rules" to the exclusion of actually writing the story. Sure, if you find that your draft is really adverb-heavy, for example, go through and cut some, but that doesn't mean you have to delete every word that ends in "ly". Synonyms for "said" are not inherently evil. Sometimes passive voice is the right way to say something. Etc.

And also:
CharleeVale wrote:FINISH something.
Hear, hear! It doesn't matter how good your first chapter is, if you never write the last chapter.

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