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Tips for Young(?) Writers

Hi Everyone,

So, once again my blog about my experiment has been put on hold. This time though isn’t for lack of being ready, but rather because I had a request to do a blog on tips for young writers by one of my followers on Google+.

Fortunately I had a quiet day and figured why not? I love writing and certainly have learned a lot along the way.

For starters we’re going to throw the title of this blog out the window. These tips will be good for any aspiring writer and I never limit anything by someone’s age. Going a little off topic here… one of my editors for Shiver Cove, Part 1: Tamyra was 13 at the time and she did an amazing job. Seriously.

I’ve been given a ton of advice and still seem to have more thrown at me all the time. I’ve been very blessed. Not that I would dare say all the advice has been good.

I think the single most important piece of advice I’ve ever heard is write what you would want to read. Chances are if you love vampires you’re going to write best when they’re part of your story. There’s certainly a lot of info floating around out there and some of it is writing for the current hot markets. That’s always an option. I guess. But, markets are constantly changing. Going back to the vampire example, we all know that a certain sparkly vampire caused a surge in vampire books. Now that market has cooled off. Does this mean you don’t write your vampire book? It’s always up to you, but no one ever goes wrong when they are creating something out of love. I am a big advocate of following your heart.

The only person who can write your story is YOU. Write what you love and your readers will feel that love come through your stories.

The second best piece of advice I’ve ever been given on writing is: make time to write. I can’t even count how many people have told me they’d love to write and then say they just don’t have time. Newsflash… I have a busy life too. When I wrote my 1st novel (a full length adult horror novel that I may never publish) I was working full time and planning my wedding. I also have: a fairly busy social life, love to read books, workout, try to maintain my home, walk my dogs, run errands, attend spiritual functions, cook dinners and so on. Now I also have the joy of promoting my books. We all have things to do. At some point if you really want to write then do it.

Even if you only write a little bit each day, like 100 words, you’re still writing. If you multiply 100 x 365 days you get 36500 words in a year. That’s not only pretty good, that’s a short novel. 100 words is half a sheet of 3-ring-lined-paper if you’re writing longhand. Or, for comparison, this blog post is 879 words. The more you get into your writing the more the words will flow. I’m not saying you have to type like a machine, but maybe you can squeeze in a half hour a day for your passion?

So now that you’re writing what you love and writing a little each day, where do you go from there? Well, you’re going to have to learn how to write. Yep. All the boring grammar and spelling stuff… writer’s need a good grasp of it. But TJ, there’s spell check on my computer. Uh huh. Spell check doesn’t always know the difference between they’re, their and there and the many other tricky little language things. But TJ, I can just use an editor. Sure you can, but if you aren’t giving your editor the best possible version of your work you’re short-changing yourself. Instead of looking for errors like your character having different colour eyes all of a sudden, your editor is bogged down in the mechanics of writing. Don’t make it easy for your editor to find mistakes, make them work for the money you’re paying them.

If you want to write well you need to read, a lot. Read what you love, read books people say they enjoyed in different genres, read short stories, read fan-fiction, read articles, read blogs, read cereal boxes for all it matters – just read as much as you can. If you find you’re reading something with poor grammar and/or spelling and/or sentence structure then make it a practice exercise in editing and correct it in your mind as you go. There is a certain site on line where people post their stories. The stories aren’t always edited or maybe the writer’s struggles with English. You can still teach yourself a lot about writing when you’re reading something sub-par.

So now that you are:
• writing what you would love to read
• making time to write
• learning the mechanics of writing
• reading a lot
You’re well on your way!

I could probably do half a dozen posts on this topic seeing as writing is a passion of mine, but I’ll leave you with that for now.

With Love and Gratitude until next time,
TJ Shortt