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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Author Insight: Advice for Writers

What is the best piece of advice you ever received as a young writer?

"WRITE.  It's still the best advice, imo.  You can read all you want, and study the craft all you want, but if you don't get your bum in the chair to get words on the page, you'll never truly grow as a writer.  It takes time to find your voice and hone your craft.  The only way to do it is through writing." - Kay Cassidy, author of The Cinderella Society.

"The most important thing isn't to hole yourself up in your office and write--the most important thing is to live your life and gather stories through your experience." - Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe.

"Slow down in all phases of the writing process." - Ty Roth, author of So Shelly.

"I didn’t start writing until a few years ago, so I was never a ‘young’ writer. The best advice I’ve gotten so far was not to give up until someone said yes." - Cynthia Omololu, author of Dirty Little Secrets.

"I actually met Gwendolyn Brooks once, and after I got done quaking in my boots and actually got up the nerve to approach her, I said, 'I think I might want to be a writer.' And she said, 'Be what you are,' which made me gape a lot and nod like I knew what she meant even though I had no freaking clue. But after spending years trying to write like other people I admired, I think I’ve figured it out. Now I embrace the fact that I’m a monster-obsessed smart aleck. It’s what I am. I’m tired of trying to be what I’m not, and I’m happy with what I am, even if it means that I have to publicly admit my obsession with Frankenthulhu." - Carrie Harris, author of Bad Taste in Boys.

"I've read and heard lots of great advice from 'just keep writing' to 'join a crit group' (which are both excellent bits of advice). But in terms of the craft of writing the best advice I ever got personally was this: 'Stay in the moment'. For me this means when I am writing a scene- I try to be within that experience along with my characters- don't think ahead as a writer, or look back as a critic. Just stay in the moment and write down what's happening." - Maurissa Guibord, author of Warped.

"Anyone who treated me as an adult gave me, either intentionally or unintentionally, an incredible amount of help. The bottom line is, no matter how old you are, this is an adult's world. Being young is really an irrelevant thing. So being taken seriously, and being told that I would be expected to behave seriously, was huge. And still is." - Hannah Moskowitz, author of Invincible Summer.

"I wasn’t terribly young, but I was a new writer, and Newbery medalist Sid Fleischman reminded me to have fun at what I was doing. Since I never expect to become rich or famous with my writing (I can always hope, though!), I’d better be having fun, or I wouldn’t be getting anything out of it." - Tracy Barrett, author of King of Ithaka.

"Reading counts as writing time." - Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Blessed.

"With a nod to Anne Lamott: 'You are allowed to write utter poo.'  Some writer friends and I use this as a mantra.  Basic concept is that you have to allow yourself to write a crappy first draft, to get your editing brain out of the way and just let the words flow.  You can fix them later." - Gretchen McNeil, author of Possess.

"Honestly I didn't get much advice as a young writer, and when I did get it, I usually didn't listen...but there was an adult moderator in the AOL Teen Writing chat back in the day who critiqued my work and gave me some really good suggestions, and explained them well so that I really understood the why of it." - Jaclyn Dolamore, author of Between the Sea and Sky.

"Rejection is part of the game; never give up." - Inara Scott, author of Delcroix Academy: The Candidates.

"There’s a ton of great advice out there, but for me personally the best was my family telling me not to give up. Keep trying. Write another book." - Kim Harrington, author of Clarity. 

"I can think of two: 'Writers write,' meaning the only way to finish a novel is to sit your butt in a chair and write it! And then, 'Writing is revising' - First drafts are just that; now sit your butt down and make it better!" - Sara Bennett Wealer, author of Rival.

"Hmm. Honestly, I think the best advice I got was from reading Florence King books. She talks about writing a lot, and what she says is clever and true. She's the one who showed me that you have to really want to do it, you have to actually sit down and do it; nobody's going to do it for you. And if you can't do that, if you expect other people to give you characters and plot and feedback on every little thing...maybe writing isn't for you." - Stacia Kane, author of City of Ghosts.

Find out Thursday what is the best piece of advice the rest of the authors have ever received.
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1 comment:

  1. This is a great post! I want to write and started but I find myself starting to give up, thanks for asking such great questions, this just gave me a boost! :-)