As an author I’m constantly asking other authors their secrets and sharing mine with them so I thought for today I would post my Advice for Authors. Things I’ve done, Still do, and have recently started doing…
Read other authors – This is a big one. You can’t be a writer without being a lover of reading. Sometimes I devour books, and will go on binges and not write at all, but fall into love with other peoples worlds. I read every single day though. Sometimes on my kindle, sometimes audible, sometimes my phone or iPad, but I read daily.
Do your research on Publisher websites – most publishers have their requirements for submissions clearly posted on their websites. When I first started out I used the Harlequin guidelines to model my writing after. I wanted my writing to be the same quality as a book with a publishing house. I still do that today. I have higher standards for myself than some editors do. I read all the time and I hate finding mistakes so I absolutely hate it when they slip past in my books, and believe me they do. So if I get a notice I fix the mistake immediately. But look at trends as well. What is selling? Don’t try to write outside of what your comfortable with but also give your fan base something they want. There are so many more platforms to do research from than when I first started. I’m going to do a blog of great places to look very soon.
Use your own personal experiences in your story – By using your own experiences in your stories it will create a relatable, funny, endearing, or genuine moment with the reader. Plus you can share your life with your fans. This is great too because we all have such great things that happen in our lives. Why not use those experiences and then twist them to make a great story.
You’re going to grow as an author – Writing has changed so much in the past ten years, with this has come good and bad changes but a particularly amazing one is that authors are able to grow and change their style or genre. An author can have a young adult series and a romance series successfully while not being trapped in a corner they will start hating. This is great because if you find yourself in a lull then you can switch thing up. I wouldn’t put myself in any corner. I love contemporary romance, young adult, thrillers, and eroticas. I love challenging myself and pushing beyond my own personal boundaries to see if I can write something that makes people think about weeks or months later.
Don’t write what you don’t love – This goes along with growing as an author, sometimes you get burnt out on writing a particular genre and I’ve found forcing myself to write something I don’t love never turns out well. This goes along with what I said above. Write different things and push yourself but don’t write something that you don’t know at all. I would never write Sci-Fi because I don’t enjoy reading it so I wouldn’t do it justice.
Brainstorm first – I like to start the writing process out by brainstorming ideas for the story with friends and family. If they have a fight what will it be about? What kind of dates will they go on? What roles will their families play? What are their professions are all great starting questions to ask while brainstorming. I’ve found that writing down my ideas helps me not forget some good ideas or repeat anything. Plus people can help us expand what we’ve come up with and make it even better. I do this all the time – while we’re driving, having a drink, sitting around a fire. I then head straight to the computer and write it all down and my stories are much more full because of.
Outline – I used to write without an outline but I have switched that now because I think it flows so much better now when I pre-plan. I like to get an outline nailed down from my brainstorming. I will admit that I do tweak my outlines a lot because I get new ideas or find that things don’t always flow correctly, so don’t be afraid to tweak your outlines if you need, add more chapters, switch things up. The great thing about a computer is that there’s a delete button. 🙂
Outlining and Brainstorming are newer things to me, most of my books were just written free form with no brainstorming or outlining but I’ve found that I can write up to 10,000 words a day if I have a plan for what I’m going to do. It just flows so much faster and I feel so much more confident in the storyline.