Jun 3, 2011

The Best Writing Advice...

The submissions queue has been light lately, and I'm about to embark on a week of international travel, so here's a discussion thread for you all to ponder in the event we have a query drought.

What's the best writing advice you have ever received?

Please post it here in the comments.  It can be related to any aspect of writing, publishing, how to live with being a writer and stay sane, how to live with a writer and stay sane (for our friends and family), etc.

For me, it came in the form of query feedback: try to sum up your novel in one sentence.  I've found this to be incredibly helpful for queries and for my manuscripts as a whole.  Being able to identify the heart of a story is critical, and sometimes it's a moving target as I write, re-write, and revise.

How about you?  What's the best writing advice you've received?


Anonymous Author said...

I've received so much good advice that it's hard to choose.

But if I had to pick one it would be this:

Give the reader a break.

Have a safe trip, Rick.

Bane of Anubis said...

Probably "take your time." Don't listen to it too well, but there's something to be said for the tortoise approach.

Safe travels.

Elena Solodow said...

"trust your gut" was the hardest thing I had to learn. I would read over a piece and deep down knew the sentences were a bit "off", but you have to be aware of that and willing to fix it. That's as close to perfection as you can get, the last step between good and great.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorites when I was younger was pretty simple: "Kill your characters."

In other words, don't fall so in love with your words that you can't eliminate the words that don't work.

And the best query specific thing I've learned, recently, is to allow the query-writing process to help me focus my thoughts on the novel itself -- and to be flexible and patient enough to allow the novel to change, if need be.

Mark said...

First- a big thanks to Rick for running this blog- really appreciate your work- and the contribution of many 'regulars' who have given great advice-

Best writing advice?

Someone once told me- when you write, do not go back the next day and re-read the 3-4 pages you just wrote- you will just then waste a lot of time rehashing- instead- do not look at what you wrote yesterday- start anew today- or it will take you forever to get to the 80K, 100K words you need-only when you are all complete with the draft- then go back and edit.

Sounds simple but I think a lot of people fall into this habit- hope this helps!

The Las Vegas Writer said...

Goal, motivation and conflict. Use it.

Taffy said...

Write your query letter when you're half way through writing your book. It helps give your direction and clarity.

Kori said...

I think the best writing advice I ever received was "Get your bum into the chair and start writing."

As a professional procrastinator, I have this pinned up on the wall above my computer, and I look at it every time my eyes start drifting towards the book I'm reading, or Facebook, or google...

Another good one was "Don't get it right, get it written." As long as there's something there to work with, it can always be polished up later but you can't revise a blank page.

The best advice I've found for publishing/getting pubbed/getting an agent etc is "Keep trying."