Posts Tagged ‘writing advice’

Dear sobbing writers,

Yep, I know you’ve slaved over that manuscript and it was torture to pry it out of your hands and hand it over to your trusted first line readers. Uh huh, I get it that you love your hero and you have sweated over the sagging middle and written an ending that makes you tear up every time you read it. No one, but no one, will treat those lovely pages as tenderly as you have. Believe me, I understand, but it’s time, people. It’s time to face the music and listen to what your trusted peeps are going to tell you. I know it hurts, believe me, even after thirty-five books it still hurts, but it has to be done. You wouldn’t send up a plane without a test flight would you? Serve that new tofu recipe to your mother-in-law until you’ve tried it out first? So chin up, best pencil forward and let’s do this. Check out the video because I’m doing it to. We shall cry together! Onward!

P.S. If you know a fellow writer type, feel free to share this video. We’re in this together, peeps!


The best advice I ever ignored.

Advice is worth what you pay for it, right? Famous writers are full of handy tips for hammering out that work of staggering genius. Let’s take the subject of inspiration. Author Frank McCourt said in a Writer’s Digest issue, “Sit and quiet yourself. Luxuriate in a certain memory and the details will come. Let the images flow.” Man, that sounds great. I’m thinking, however, that Frank was not trying to corral two daughters, a dog, and on the odd days, a roomful of 26 wiggly third graders. I just don’t really have the time to luxuriate about anything. If I finish the coffee all the way to the bottom, I call that a good morning! With a limited amount of time at my disposal, I rather favor the advice of the late Andy Rooney. “My advice is to not wait to be struck by an idea. If you’re a writer, you sit down and d*** well decide to have an idea. That’s the way to get an idea.”

Not elegant, but wise. When you approach a creative project do you favor the McCourt method or the Rooney approach? And by the way, do you generally take advice or forge your own path? happy bookDo share! Raffling off an Amazon gift card this month.

The “Write What You Know” Myth

Ah yes. We’ve all heard that sage advice – write what you know. Personally, I’ve never believed this notion, not in the fiction arena. If I wrote what I knew, I would be penning the thrilling adventures of a third grade teacher who plays the piano–badly! Not exactly the stuff page turners are made of. I prefer this advice…write what you WANT to know. Every novel I’ve written (those that remain in the file cabinet and those that have been published) feature something I would love to know more about or experience (if I had the courage.) Female firefighter? Check. Scientist who studies bats in South America? Check! Missionary in the Peten jungle? Check check! Am I actually gifted with the skills and guts required to do any of this? Not even close! My job as a writer it to create a journey that I would like to experience, and research it well enough to create a story that will carry others along with me.

Recently I became fascinated by treasure hunters, regular people who either stumble upon priceless items (that garage sale print that turns out to be a Picasso, the old dusty rock in the bottom of the fish tank that is a prehistoric fossil) or make it their business to search them out. Did you know there really are many priceless treasures still undiscovered in the world? The idea was so interesting to me, I developed a three book Treasure Seekers Series.  Have I ever been in abandoned tunnels in search of paintings or following the clues to find a priceless violin? Nah, but I sure had a blast imagining myself doing it and I hope my readers will, too.

Dangerous Melody, cover

If you could go on a thrilling treasure hunt, what would you search for? The Lost Faberege Eggs? The Oak Island Money pit? Or maybe something more generic…a lost painting, a rare stamp, a shipwreck. Let your imagination run wild! Please post, I’d LOVE To hear your ideas!