Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday's Tips

Hey everyone! Sorry things have been crazy. I'm trying to find time to post. I think once I start school up things will get easier and both Shayla and I will be able to post on the blog more often.
Thank you so much everyone for your patience. It means alot that you guys are with us on the AA team!
-Owner's Don't Knock
PS- If anyone would like to guest post this Saturday (on any writing subject) please email us at shayla.danielson@gmail.com
Reminder-Submit your own writing to be featured on the blog!
Reminder-Make sure to vote on our poll and check out how we're doing with OUR personal writing when you stop by!
Thank you everyone(:

1. Do not compare yourself with others.
We each have our own path to success. Some people are shooting stars. Others are slow and steady. Each may reach the same goal, but at a different pace. Do this: compare yourself only with yourself. Is each new manuscript better than your last? Did you send out more query letters this year? Were your contest scores higher this time around? And always remember -- another author's success does not mean your failure.
2. Find your strengths.
Forget what's trendy and discover what kind of story you write best. Perhaps your writing partner writes wonderfully emotional vampire tales. Does this mean you should write emotional vampire tales? Only if you're good at it. Perhaps you write light, funny, and inspiring tales instead. Write them. No market for them, you think? Doesn't matter. Any book that is strongly written and tells a compelling story will find a place in the market, no matter what the trend is that day.
(And if you can spot today's trend, it's probably just about over.)
3. Don't be in a hurry.
Many yet-to-be-published writers yearn for publication (I know I did). Rejections can be heartbreaking. But take the time to make what you submit to be the very best it can be--no matter that it takes three years for you to finish. It will be much better for your career in the long run to confront the publishing world with a spectacular book that they will get behind, than a mediocre book that is just publishable and will languish in the warehouse.
4. Don't be afraid to write in the manner in which you write best.
Some writers outline, outline, outline then chart each scene before they can even put fingers to keyboard. Other writers sit down and start page one with no clear end in mind. Both of these writers can end up with a wonderful book. Neither is right. Neither is wrong. If you write best with charts, make charts. If you write best simply writing, then write. Never let someone else tell you that your way of writing stories is wrong. It is right--for you.
5. Be strong.
Readers read to live in a different world from the everyday one. Or perhaps they seek the same world, but one funnier, happier, more dramatic, more emotional, more passionate. Give it all you've got. If you write humor, be hysterical; if you write passion, be wild; if you write emotion, make yourself cry (your reader will too).
6. Be knowledgeable.
Market research is as simple as going to a bookstore and observing what's on the shelves. Do you love writing wild pirate tales? Who else is writing them? Who is publishing them? Find out who the publishers are and where they are. Most have their addresses printed on the copyright pages of books. Search The Writer's Market (the latest edition can be found in the reference section of any library) for names of specific editors. Mail your query or manuscript (Writer's Market will tell you which they want) to that editor.
7. Read authors you admire.
If you admire an author, it's probably for a good reason: they are wonderful storytellers, or they have a lively prose style, or their characterizations are fantastic--or all of the above. Learn from these authors, try to discover how they do what they do. That said, also read widely outside your target genre. Find strengths of other genres to pull into your own to keep it fresh. (And if you read a book that you love, that touches you in some way, write the author and tell him/her so. Authors like to know whether they have done their jobs!)
8. Critique groups are not for everyone.
Critique groups can be marvelously supportive, or they can be stifling. I personally write best in a cave, occasionally coming out to ask an author I trust whether I am going off the rails. If you feel your critique group will not you let you write the strong books you feel you are best writing, don't be afraid to go it alone. On the other hand, if your critique group gives you wonderful help and support, don't be afraid to stay.
9. Don't waste time and money.
The best way to write publishable books is to read books then sit down and write books. Everything else is optional. Develop a critical, honest eye for your own work. Many traps exist out there for the desperate-to-be-published author. Save your money. Never pay to get published. You are writing so that people will pay you, not the other way around.
10. Write every day.
If you produce only one page and you throw it away the next day, it doesn't matter. Writing every day keeps your writing muscles in shape. Continuing to write will teach you how to write better than anything else. You'll learn something new every day!

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