Hi, just a quick note while things are still fresh. I attended a writer’s gathering today with some very successful professional writers. Some key points I took away, which based on my humble experience writing Sean Yeager I can confirm are good advice are:
1) Characters are the backbone of your story, more so than plot they will shape and carry your ideas. Build them, understand them, listen to them and follow where they lead you.
I can vouch for this personally now that I have my own Sean Yeager characters baying for action and plot twists of their own in book 2 Hunters Hunted. Some even want their own stories written (steady on there!!!).
2) Write free-form or with structured notes and try mixing up both methods for best effect. Never be afraid of trying what works best for you, writing is like daydreaming with words.
I can vouch for the mixed approach – try a bit of both because it gives confidence that you know where you are heading while at the same time giving freedom to develop the story as you progress.
3) Whatever you do sit down and write. It’s all about practice and improving what you write therefore you need to do it if only for a short period every day. Never pretend you need a muse to write.
4) Be disciplined and write to a deadline, if you have professional aspirations write like a pro and get the job done. Publishers will set deadlines and therefore you need to learn to write to them yourself.
5) Expect to hone your language and be edited it is a necessary part of the process no matter how great you might think you are at writing. Or put another way – all the best books are reviewed and revised into greatness. (I picked that latter part up somewhere)
6) Develop a steel skin for the inevitable criticism and rejection, they come with the territory. Better still ignore reviews and concentrate on the constructive feedback you receive.
7) Whatever you do keep sitting down and writing (yes it is a repeat tip and it is deliberate)
8) Look after yourself – your posture, back, wrists, health they all matter. Remember a healthy body is a healthy mind. Or put another way – It’s a marathon not a sprint. (my comment added in there).
9) Figure out your own place of writing and what works for you, make that place your own and relax into it – other professions have lucky places / objects too
10) Research thoroughly or you’ll be caught out. Enjoy it as well it is a perk of the job.
11) You need to read other books as well to write. Why? Well this took me a while to figure out – my conclusions are – Because you need to focus on use of language, stretch your own writing muscles and to gauge the benchmark or better still inspirations for your writing. Getting into the zone is best achieved through both writing and reading quality books.
12) And my personal favourite – ALWAYS carry a notebook, write down what you see, hear smell, think. Anything useful to your world of creating stories. Then collate the best ideas in your home book or spreadsheet. Personally I go on long walks and ask questions of my story and write down the answers such as – So what about x? What’s the story about? Why should anyone care about x? What’s the strangest thing that could happen next? etc etc.
I hope you find these tips useful, they certainly resonated with me.
Happy writing and reading