Advice For Young Writers
by MarcyKate Connolly
The writing bug can bite at any age. For me, it happened first when I was in elementary school (I wrote a ton of terrible poetry) and then again in my late 20s (novels that were substantially better than that poetry). When you’re first beginning to write, there seems to be so many hurdles to finishing that first book, so many ups and downs. It’s easy to feel like you just don’t know where to start, or that you’ll never finish that book, or even if you do that it’s not going to be good enough. The bad news is that doesn’t go away entirely, but there are some ways to prepare for those ups and downs and focus on making your book the very best you can.
1) Write for yourself first and foremost. If you write without passion it will show. But if you write what you’re passionate about, that will shine through.
2) Read books about craft and writing tips…but don’t mistake them for a formula you must follow. There are lots of great resources out there on improving your craft, how to revise, how to draft, and more. But every book is different and every writer is different. Try out the suggestions you read about, but never forget that they are just that: suggestions. There is no gospel truth when it comes to writing. If one approach doesn’t work for you, try something else. It’s your book; you can write it any way you want J. The trick is to find what works best for you.
3) Embrace revision. The blank page is the great equalizer—every writer from pro to beginner has to start there. And most writers do not write pristine first drafts, either. They go through revision after revision after revision. That’s where the magic happens—it’s in taking a messy first draft and making it shine. Basically, writing is rewriting!
4) Keep a journal or folder on your computer where you log any ideas or snippets of interesting stuff. This can be so useful when worldbuilding or looking for a good idea later. You never know when you might find just the right catalyst to ignite a new story.
5) Keep writing. Some days you’re going to feel down about the words you’re putting on the page. You’re going to hate them and want to stop. That’s OK. It happens to everyone at some point. Either push through it in the moment or allow yourself a little space from that book. But whatever you do, keep writing.
6) Don’t give up. If you decide to try to get a manuscript published, you are inevitably going to face rejection. Not everyone is going to love your book. In fact, some people will probably hate it. And this is not something that stops once your book is published; if anything, it gets worse (hello, reviews!). The key is to not let it get you down for long, and to keep trying. It’s a subjective business. Remember, there are people out there who hate chocolate, too. There’s no accounting for taste J
7) Don’t forget to refresh your creative well. It’s important to get out of your head for a while and do other things that inspire you. Dance! Sing! Get lost in a museum! Go for a hike! Read everything you can get your hands on! All these things give you a little healthy space from your work, but still keep those creative engines firing in your brain. If you’re feeling stuck it can be just what you need to get back on track.
MarcyKate Connolly is a writer and nonprofit administrator living in New England with her husband and pugs. She’s a coffee addict and voracious reader. She’s also the author of Monstrous and Ravenous.
Ravenous (Monstrous #2)
A witch has come to the city of Bryre. She travels in a hut that has chicken feet, and is ravenous for children. And once she gets what she desires, she never lets it go.
But when the witch captures Hans, Greta’s little brother, Greta refuses to let her have him. The two strike up a bargain. Greta will retrieve something the witch desires in exchange for her brother’s freedom.
To get the prize Greta must travel to Belladoma—a city where she was once held captive—which brings back terrible memories. With the help of a new friend, Dalen, a magical half-boy and half-horse, Greta embarks on the journey and tries to overcome both foes and her own weaknesses.
For fans of Monstrous and new readers alike comes the story of an epic quest and a heroine who will stop at nothing to save the one she loves most.
Look out for PRECIOUS, a prequel novella to both Monstrous and Ravenous, in the final edition!
Monstrous (Monstrous #1)
The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.
Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.
Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.
And what he knows will change Kym’s life.
Thank you to the wonderful MarcyKate for your amazing advice for our young and beginner writers! Your words are not only helpful, but inspirational to those of us who write.
As always, a large thanks to all authors who have participated, will participate, and are participating in this feature. You are so extremely appreciated. We love you!
Have a wonderful rest of your week! If anyone is in Atlanta, stop by the Writer’s Conference with Chuck Sambuchino speaking! I’ll be taking pitches there! Look for me! =)