I’ve been getting some emails lately asking for writing advice, so I thought I’d post my reponse(s) here in case others are interested.

These are just some general thoughts about writing, of course. If you want to talk more specifically about developing characters, creating conflict, or even publishing type stuff (finding an agent, etc.), let me know. We can do that, too. πŸ™‚

1) If writing is really important to you, don’t quit. You’ll have a million and one people telling you how hard it is to write a book, and they’re right…but don’t let that stop you. All of us–every single published author out there–had people telling us it couldn’t be done. πŸ™‚ It can be. You have to be persistent and BELIEVE.

2) Don’t worry about it if you don’t know what happens next in the story, just keep going. I spent years starting stories and never finishing them because I thought if I didn’t know what happened next then it was doomed and I’d better start another one. Finishing the story, even if you think it’s not very good, is super important. Writing, especially in the beginning, teaches you through the experience of writing. In other words, you may hate the middle or the end of this book you just finished, but you’ll learn from it so the next one will be better.

3) Read. A lot. πŸ™‚ Look at your favorite book and figure out what makes it your favorite. Is it the realistic characters? The funny dialogue? The mystery? Whatever you enjoy about that book is most likely an element you’ll want to incorporate in your own writing. And you should always write what you want to read. Write something that would entice you to pick it up off the shelf, even if it’s not something that’s popular right now (e.g. vampires).

4) Have fun! Don’t worry about pleasing anyone else, especially not at first. Tell yourself the story.

5) Always keep learning. There are lots of good books and articles out there about writing. The Writer and Writer’s Digest are two magazines that most libraries carry, and they have great articles, especially if you’re just starting out. Other books I’ve found helpful are: On Writing by Stephen King, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, and Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon.

My mentor, Linnea Sinclair, also found these very cool story cards. We’ve used them in workshops, but I also think they’re incredibly handy for sorting out a story idea and seeing how the pieces fit together.

Okay…back to revising! Oh! That would be another good topic for discussion someday. πŸ™‚

5 comments to “Writing Advice”

  1. Trish Commons
    · July 7th, 2010 at 3:20 pm · Link

    Bravo on publishing your recent book,
    The Ghost and the Goth! I’m going to go get it today.

    I appreciate your words of encouragement
    and writing suggestions too!

    I’m working on my debut novel too…fun fun fun….I’m a retired English teacher and very young grandma! πŸ™‚ ha! ha!

    I attend a monthly writer’s group at my local library and attend many published author’s workshops…you’re right…so much advice that it boggles the brain. I’ve written
    my first chapter so many times and so many different ways that I could scream. I’ve written 6 more chapters but someone locally read it and said it needed a better
    predicament for the main character…

    Hope all your book signings went well and hope you talk about that experience.

  2. Stacey Kade
    · July 9th, 2010 at 10:57 pm · Link

    Thanks, Trish! Yep, I’m definitely going to write up a post about the book tour. Such an amazing experience. I’m so glad to have been able to go!

    As for critiques, make sure you’re taking advice that a) makes sense to you b) is from someone who is familiar with the genre in which you’re writing and c) is from someone you trust. πŸ™‚

    Everybody has an opinion–doesn’t always mean they’re right! Sometimes you have to go with your gut.

    Also, everyone writes differently, but I always like to finish a complete first draft before sharing it for feedback. Often where I started is not where I end up, and then I can go back and fix the beginning.

    Rewriting the same chapter(s) over and over again is agonizing! That’s why writing through to the end can help. Yep, there’ll be rewriting most likely but usually by the time you reach the end, you’ll know what needs to be fixed at the beginning pretty clearly!


  3. Stacey Kade
    · July 9th, 2010 at 10:59 pm · Link

    Oh, and in a self-promotion-y type moment, I should mention for anyone who’s interested that I’m teaching Goal, Motivation and Conflict online for RWA in August.

    You can find out more info here:

  4. Kelly B.
    · August 26th, 2010 at 8:34 pm · Link

    I absolutely ADORE the book!! The book was entirely TOO good! it’s my favorite book! I finished the book in a matter of 8 hours! AHHH, why can’t you come to California soon?!!? I can’t wait till you do! Congrats on all your success! I absolutely CAN’T wait for the next book! :mrgreen:

    • Stacey Kade
      · August 26th, 2010 at 9:35 pm · Link

      Thanks, Kelly! I’m so happy to hear that! πŸ™‚

      Actually, I’ll be in Los Angeles the first week in April 2011 for the RT Book Reviews convention, if that helps. πŸ™‚

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