Saturday Morning Musings
Welcome back to another sharing of ideas here at MuseItUp.
There's one question most authors are sure to be asked...what advice do you have for _______? Today we're tackling this question just for you.
No matter how good an idea for a short story, novella or novel is before it is submitted an author needs to ensure it is polished.
Books on 'How to Write', Writing Courses and Workshops are helpful. Face to face Writers Groups and online critique groups which offer constructive critiques and comments are useful.
Writing to the highest possible standard, careful revision and editing will increase the chance of publication.
Gosh, the best advice I have for young authors—learn to file! File those notes, that piece of information, that research, that saying you heard, that story idea you had, and the notes that went with it. File those tidbits you wrote on envelopes, scraps of paper, napkins—anything you could get your hands on.
You would be surprised at how much time you would save looking for that one piece of info that is holding up your article, story, novel! Not to mention the frustration you would avoid!
All writings are not done within months of getting an inspiration. Sometimes it takes years before you actually get to write up a particular idea. How handy it would be to go to a file, lift out a folder, and see the research and notes accumulated over time.
Ideas are electric, so share them
Have you ever seen a downed electrical wire when it hits the ground? Have you seen how it spits, sputters, and arcs? If you have, then you know how young writers look when they get an idea. The electricity literally jumps out of them as their idea spikes and flows to anyone within listening distance. For some young writers, it’s not just one idea but a multitude of them running through their brains like an electrical current. But, as soon as they try to put it in writing—BLACKOUT! The reservoir empties and the grid melts. So how can young writers rewire their brains so that their ideas flow to paper? Here are three things that will jolt their writing.
1. Read, read, read. Reading increasing knowledge, and helps a writer understand how other authors write stories, articles, and books. Reading jump starts creativity and increases the flow of ideas.
2. Keep a notebook. When something sparks an idea, write one or two sentences to explain it, and then stop. When one notebook is full, start another. Keep going. Some writers have boxes of notebooks overflowing with ideas. A notebook of ideas feeds the impulse to write.
3. Practice, practice, practice. Write a little every day. Even a diary entry counts, but as the ideas continue to flow, take one, and work it into a short story or a non-fiction article. Ideas are electric when shared. Practice will help the creative juices flow.
TERRI BERTHA, Mainstream NEW author
Advice to a young (age wise) author:
Start a journal that only you write in and read. Observe and keep track of events during the day and your ideas. There are stories all around.
Review what you write and see if you can turn an entry into a story. Think about who, what where, when, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching.
Think about where you were when you observed your entry, or did it strictly come from your brain? How do you feel about the event? Can you add something more to the event? Look at it in a different way. Think about ‘what if’ this would happen or ‘what if’ that would happen?
Also, read. Reading can boost creativity and reading other’s writings help teach us how to write. Write something every day – whether a little or a lot.
Above all else, don’t quit. Persevere and believe in yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s a memoir, love story, SciFi trilogy, or the events of the day. Turn your journal into a tale.
Advice to a young adult author:
I think the best advice to a young adult author is to go back into your own ‘young adult brain’ and search through the memories of what you felt at this age. Your writing and thoughts should reflect the struggles, both physically and mentally of transitioning from a child to an adult. Since young adults don’t have the hindsight like adults, the decisions they make and dialogue should be appropriate. If you incorporate adult decision making and dialogue into your manuscript, the story becomes unbelievable to the reader.
In my Middle Grade Spooky Twisties Series, the kids make their own decisions, whether good or bad, without parental help. These decisions reflect the thought processes of a young mind. Friendships, interactions with others, and the ‘pack mentality’ are important at this age, along with the ‘trials and tribulations’ that accompany them. These are important, in my opinion, in writing for this age group. Adult ‘lines in the sand’ have yet to be drawn, which also lends itself to a more forgiving and innocent story line than an adult book.
Firstly keep a notebook and pen within reach at all times. I often find inspiration when I least expect it and I like to jot down ideas for stories or character/place names. If you like a high tech approach, use a small voice recorder or your mobile phone to record your thoughts.
Secondly, don't be afraid to edit, discard and rewrite. If I find a word, phrase or sentence that I consistently trip over when I'm reading to myself, I know it has to go.
Thirdly, don't take rejection to heart. Tell yourself that a publisher's rejection doesn't necessarily mean that there's anything wrong with the story. I find it hurts less if I tell myself that the publisher and I simply share different tastes in books. It's still a rejection, but to me, it doesn't seem so personal or painful.
Lastly, write, write, write!
My advice to young authors read everything you can get your hands on, find out what story elements intrigue you, and then go play with them. Don’t listen to the babble of “write what you know” or “your story must follow the genre rules”. As a young author, your job is to uncover your voice, discover what makes your pen crawl faster across the page (or fingers fly over the keyboard). Don’t get hung up on the rules, not yet, because they only way to reveal your writing path is exploration. Figure out what works for you—do you adore first person point of view or is it too much and you need to go to third. Maybe you’ll find a balance between the two with close third person. Is your expansive enough to host more than one exciting tale? Or are you a creator of multiple universes? Does hard core Sci-Fi make your pulse race, or is it better when mixed with mystery or suspense or even old Western elements? When you being writing, it’s all about exploration, so don’t be afraid of taking chances or experimenting, just don’t forget to do so from a solid home base—plot, story arc, character motivation—building blocks that will enable you to trek into the unknown with confidence.
Write, then write more, and more, just don’t stop.
Keep reading and dreaming. If there’s anything you’re curious about just drop me a note: MuseChrisChat@gmail.com