This week, we’re so excited to welcome Keira Gillett, author of Zaria Fierce, on our blog to talk about how you write a book! There’s some great advice in here. Enjoy, lovely readers!
Hi Kelly, thanks for having me here today on your blog, Live Love Read. I’m excited to be part of your new feature Musings of Eternal Dreamers. My name is Keira Gillett and I’m the author of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, the first book in a new trilogy about a young American girl who moves to Norway and stumbles into a world of magic and fantasy when a troll kidnaps her best friend.
For those of you who are joining us today, this feature is focused on sharing advice to those who are working hard to find their own success in the publishing world. My topic today is meant for those writers who are looking to become authors. It all starts with one basic question…
How do you write a book?
Loads of ways! To break it down to its simplest parts, it is simply this – Start. Write. Finish.
The toughest aspect of this basic equation for me was starting. I had an idea. (I had many ideas.) But it was difficult to put it down on paper, and I kept trashing the opening chapters. I kept getting stuck on the world building aspect. It was harder than I thought it would be. A lot harder. Until I gave myself permission to just wing it. I treated it like writing fanfic and that was a light bulb moment. I stopped painstakingly planning and connecting pieces of the world, making sure every part was accounted for prior to writing about it and let the world build itself as I wrote. When I got out of my own way it all fell into place beautifully. In some cases so serendipitously I wondered later how I managed it.
For someone else the hardest part may be writing it. If that’s you, then set daily writing goals for yourself. Strive to meet those goals. Even if you hate what you wrote, don’t touch it and keep going. Editing your work while you’re writing it will slow you down tremendously. The first draft is never about getting it 100% right. Perfecting the prose comes later in the second and third draft. (In the edits too, and the idea of all that red ink may be scary, but it’s okay, it’s helpful to you and for the story.) After you’re done with the first draft, maybe you’ll read the story over and want to change scenes or delete a whole section to write about it from a different angle. Maybe you decide to axe a character. That’s okay. Just be sure you put words down every day and eventually you will have a story.
Now the finishing of a book seems like it should be easy if you’ve done the other two parts, but it isn’t for a lot of people. When friends, coworkers, and family heard I was publishing a book many told me they also had a book in the works, but then would elaborate and say it wasn’t finished… and then they would tell me that they’ve been working on it for years. Yikes. Don’t procrastinate! You started the book, you’ve written the story, now it’s up to you to finish it. Sure, you may be unsatisfied and questioning just how to end it. But see the above point about drafts. You can fix it later. So, how do you end it? Any way you want. Readers might not love it. Or readers might love it and tell all their friends. Either way is okay. It’s your story. You tell it. Just get it done.
The only permission you need to write a story is your own. Make sure you give it!
Author Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.
“Come here Princess, and let me eat you.”
On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.
See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.
Are you in the mood for an old fashioned magical jaunt? Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett is a classic “perilous adventure” book for middle grade readers. 4 Stars – Jennifer Bardsley, The YA Gal
I really enjoyed Zaria’s story. It reminded me a lot of Percy Jackson series… Middle school children will absolutely like this one! 4 Stars – Anjie Basi, Love Thy Shelf
This book will have young listeners hooked right from the start. In fact, if parents are planning a driving holiday this summer, I highly recommend purchasing this audiobook. It will definitely keep the kids entertained while traveling. Michele Carpenter’s narration is terrific. 5 Stars – Amie Gaudet, Amie’s Book Reviews
Geirr stooped to pick up some decent-sized sticks, and Zaria bent to grab a few too. They talked amicably and walked, stretching their legs, until they were too burdened by their loads to keep going.
“My arms are going to collapse,” Zaria huffed. Her breath fogged around her face, covering and then revealing a well-pinked nose and cheeks. “Let’s head back to camp.”
“Sounds good to me,” Geirr said and turned around to do just that. Zaria followed and collided into him, dropping her load of kindling all over the ground.
“Hey!” she exclaimed, as she went to gather them. “Why did you stop?”
“I don’t think we’re going to find camp,” Geirr said, worrying his lip. He juggled his armful of wood and pointed haphazardly forward. “It’s like pea soup.”
Zaria looked up from playing fifty-two pickup and saw what worried Geirr. In front of them was a wall of fog, thick, viscous, and impossible to see through. She gulped and carefully set down the pile she’d been working to gather again. Was it her imagination or did the fog seem to be breathing? It crept closer in stages. Not fast enough that she saw it while looking directly at it, but if she looked away and back, it most definitely moved.
“Uh, Geirr,” Zaria said, slowly gaining her feet. “I think we should move and fast.”
Geirr looked at her puzzled. “I don’t think fast is an option here. Now if you pick up your stack and stick near me maybe we can Marco Polo our way back to the others.”
“Geirr,” Zaria hissed, her voice ratcheting higher. “The fog is moving.” He didn’t look impressed. The breathing sounds from within the fog grew louder, distressing Zaria. “No seriously, it’s moving like it’s alive.”
Geirr looked back again and stared hard, trying to penetrate the fog with his gaze alone. Zaria started to ease away, firewood forgotten.
“Come on, Geirr, we have to move. Can’t you hear the breathing?”
“That isn’t you?” he asked, alarmed.
“No!” Zaria shouted. “Run!”
See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.
A huge thank you to Keira Gillett for creating this wonderful guest post and helping all of us continue to achieve our dreams through writing! It’s been such a pleasure to work with you!
Another huge thank you to all of the authors who have volunteered their time to being a part of this feature every week! You all are so wonderful! We love having every single one of you and can’t wait for what the rest of your posts will teach us. =)
Have a wonderful week!
❤ Kelly, Lauren, and Melissa