8 GREAT WRITING RULES
by Erin Summerill
I recently was asked to speak at a local high school about my debut novel Ever The Hunted. After I shared my publication story, most of the questions that came from the students were about my writing process. Like them, I remembered the years when I was so eager to learn about publishing. Like my goldendoodle salivates for bone, I would sit in the front row at writing conferences, listening to authors speak about their writing process. I eagerly waited for a morsel of knowledge that would help me break into the world of publishing. Or at the very least, help me write something that was publication worthy. So I started collecting tips and pieces of information that helped me get a better handle on my novel writing.
Now that I’m practically sitting on the eve of my debut’s release, I can honestly say that the writing rules I’ve lived by have helped me on my road to publication. If you’re an aspiring author, or a seasoned writer maybe you’ll have a set of your own rules. But maybe, my 8 Great Writing Rules will give you something more to think about.
1. Give your reader a reason to turn the first page…and then the next.
Keep the stakes high in a novel, making each page a page-turner.
2. Trash it.
If the scene isn’t working, throw it out and start again. This can apply to a whole novel. If it’s not working, don’t be afraid to trash it.
3. Make it come to life.
The setting in every scene needs to feel real and lifelike. Make the reader feel like they’re walking through the pages of your book, breathing the air of your world, and feeling the atmosphere you created. Show, show, show. Don’t tell.
4. Know your theme.
Know what the character’s are learning in the book, and weave that lesson into the core of the novel.
5. When you’re done editing, edit some more.
6. Write. Write one sentence a day. Maybe it’ll turn into a paragraph, or a page, or a chapter. But at least write one sentence a day.
7. Accept criticism as the tool used to carve you into the best storyteller you can be.
Erin Summerill was born in England. After spending years bouncing between Air Force bases in Hawaii, England, and California, her family settled in Utah, where Erin graduated with a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University. She had aspirations to write the next great American novel, but writing proved tougher than she first thought. So she grabbed a Nikon and became a professional photographer while crafting manuscript after manuscript. The scenic detour of shooting weddings across the United States, as well as internationally, provided world-building inspiration. It gave her the vision to draft her debut YA fantasy, EVER THE HUNTED. Now when she isn’t writing, or shooting a wedding, she’s chasing her four kids, two dogs, one cat, and five chickens. This could be why she downs massive amounts of Coke Zero and Hot tamales.
Ever the Hunted
Releases December 27th!
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
Thank you so much to Erin for these wonderful writing tips! Sometimes we all just need to hear it straight and find guidelines to go by when we’re stuck or down-hearted. We so appreciate your time and are thankful for your wonderful words of advice!
Thank you to everyone who has participated in this feature. Your amazing advice doesn’t go unheard, and you all are helping more writers than you could ever know!
Have a wonderful rest of your week and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!