Writing tips from famous writers
For my first post in the Miscellaneous section of my blog, I wanted to do a fun post about important writing tips that I have gotten from many of the author’s I’ve done Q&A’s with.
From my Q&A with Lauren Kate the New York Times Bestselling author of “The Fallen Series,” “The Teardrop Series,” and the rom com “By Any Other Name,” is when I started to ask questions about what her tips would be to aspiring writers. Here is what she wrote.
Finish your stories, even the bad ones. You can always go back and make them better, but first you have to finish them! Lauren Kate
From a more recent Q&A with Patti Callahan Henry, I asked about her tips for anyone wanting to write especially in her genre of historical fiction.
Write and read and read and write and read. I know that sounds simplistic but the more you love the art of storytelling, the better you can try and find your own voice. Don’t write to impress; write to enchant. Patti Callahan Henry
From a recent Q&A with writer and podcaster Zibby Owens I asked her what advice she had about anyone wanting to be a writer, blogger, and podcaster.
Start small. Learn how to do what you don’t know how to do on YouTube, Google, and wherever you can figure it out. Get advice. And then start with something that doesn’t cost a lot and can help you see how what you’re doing is landing with audiences. Zibby Owens
When asking Kitty Zeldis what her writing advice would be especially for writing historical fiction novels, she had some great advice as well.
The first thing is to keep writing! This sounds obvious but it is not. Even if you can just write a page a day, that’s more important than waiting until you have great stretches of time to allot to it. You need to keep your hand in, and to keep your writer muscles supple. I also think it’s great to take a writing course. Taking a course or workshop allows you to meet other aspiring writers, get good feedback for your work, and be held accountable. There are so many options for this, both virtual and in-person. As for writing historical fiction, pick a period you have some familiarity with, at least to start. Having that kind of knowledge will definitely make your job easier. Kitty Zeldis
From Q&A with Stephanie Wrobel who is a USA Today and Sunday Times Bestselling author of “Darling Rose Gold,” when I asked what her tips are on writing here are three tips she gave me plus her website if you really want to learn more.
I have three pieces of advice for debut writers:
- Set a measurable goal. It can be words/hours/scenes per day/week/month, but come up with something so you can watch yourself make progress. The idea of writing 90,000 words is daunting but less so if you break it down into bite-sized pieces. If you write 1,000 words a day, you’d have a first draft in 3 months! It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you do it—work as your schedule allows. The important thing is to chip away and keep to your schedule. I also find it really rewarding to keep a spreadsheet of chapter word counts so I can watch the total word count climb.
- Get qualified constructive feedback. You read a lot about the importance of practice—getting and keeping your butt in the chair—which is true! But in order to get better at anything, you also need someone to tell you where you’ve gone wrong. A family member or friend isn’t going to cut it unless they’re an author or work in the publishing industry. This doesn’t mean you have to commit to a two-year course or pay an editor tons of money, but there are plenty of starter courses where you can dip your toe in the water and receive feedback from a qualified professional.
- Treat the business side of writing as part of the job—because it is! Start writing first drafts of your query letter months before you’re ready to send your manuscript out. Same goes for the synopsis. Research agents and take the time to find a list of twenty or thirty that fits your book really well. Do all of this alongside writing your novel—or, if you can only take on one project at a time, don’t rush this part of the process. You will learn a ton along the way, and the final result you send out will be much more polished.
I’m trying my best to share what I’ve learned so far via the For Writers section of my website.
From another Q&A with Diana Giavinazzo the author of “Antionette’s Sister,” which I recently read and the author of “The Woman in Red,” have advice for anyone wanting to be a writer.
Read everything from the back of shampoo bottles to the classics! Books are our best teachers when it comes to structure, plotting and style. I’m thankful for my podcast Wine, Women and Words because we have a wide range of books that we read for the show. It’s easy to get into a genre rut, and the podcast keeps that from happening. Diana Giovinazzo
Today I posted this Q&A with New York Times Bestselling author Kristy Woodson Harvey, who recently released the novel “The Wedding Veil,” and has “The Peachtree Bluff,” series, “Under the Southern Sky,” and “Dear Carolina.” Kristy had her own advice for anyone wanting to be a writer and this is very wise advice.
When I decided to start writing, I went to meet with one of my creative writing professors from college, and he gave me the best advice: The worst thing that can happen is that you get published too soon. I really carried that with me and know now that, once you get published, all your work follows you, so you want to make sure every book is your best book. I remember that rushed feeling like I needed to hurry up and get published, hurry up and get going on this career, so that advice soothed me many times! I hope it helps someone else. Kristy Woodson Harvey
Everything I’ve listed from what these authors told me is very educational and insightful. It is good advice for anyone reading this wanting to be a writer and not knowing where to start. What can be learned from this is even if you think your stories suck, finish them anyway and you can always go back to them and edit it later. Read and write often especially about what you know. What you don’t know, research the topic or ask someone who knows about said topic. Take your time writing your stories to make them wonderful. Write a story you love and it will enchant your readers. If you write to impress instead of writing about what you are passionate about, your readers will notice. Write to enchant and you’ll build a fan base.