Saturday, November 28, 2009

3 Tips For Beginning Writers

Over the past fifteen years I've heard so much great advice on writing and becoming a writer. Here are three tips I'm finding from my own experience to be true:

1. The best way to learn how to write fiction is to read great novels. It’s learning by osmosis---you’ll pick up concepts like how to structure a story, craft dialogue, and master point of view, without even realizing it. Which isn't to say that how-to book don't have they're place, of course. I'm currently reading James Scott Bell's latest, The Art of War for Writers, and most certainly recommend it and others. But if we only read the books on technique without actually reading other fiction, it's possible we'll get stuck.

2. Start writing about what you love. You will write best if it’s something you’re interested in. Do you love horses? Write a story about a woman struggling to keep her horse farm afloat. Do you love airplanes? How about writing a story featuring a hot shot pilot? My sister Tracy started out writing articles about Christian musicians for youth publications because she loved Christian music. We will automatically have a drive if we write about something that excites us, or something that we're curious about.

3. Writing is an apprenticeship. It can take at least ten years to master the craft enough to think about publishing. If we go into it knowing that, it’ll help us on those days when the words just aren’t coming. I started writing as a teenager (if you don't count the silly animal stories I wrote as a kid). It took fifteen years before my first book was accepted for publication. Granted, I knew nothing when I started, but that gives you an idea of the commitment you need to have. Maybe it won't take you that long. But be prepared for it.

7 comments:

Jenna said...

Great post, and fantastic advice. :) You're so right, and I'll definitely be sharing this post with my other writerly friends.

Ayesha said...

The post is really very informative, but can't we have a way to write a book and get it published a little sooner?

momishome2 said...

Great advice - thanks! My 14 y.o. daughter is ecstatic that there's actually book about writing battle scenes!! She's the fiction writer & I'm the non-fiction writer :-).

~ Bethany L.

C.J. Darlington said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! Ayesha---I wish! It's not set in stone, but I just think it helps to have that long term mindset. :)

Koala Bear Writer said...

Great advice - thanks for sharing. I know I've definately learned lots from some of the really good novels that I've read lately. Or even from the not-so-good ones, as I tried to figure out what didn't work in them. :)

prashant said...

Great post, and fantastic advice

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Judith Briles said...

I would love to share these tips to newbie writers I know. To add, never force yourself to write and to finish your book. do not set a deadline as it will only create much pressure and stress to you. Writing is never hurried as adversely, will only make it a flop. It is best to stay relaxed and inspired to write since ideas flow easier that way.