We have the pleasure to enjoy a wonderful guest post by Robin today! We hope you will all like it and this is the perfect read for all of you who hope to become an writer one day!
WRITING ADVICE, ROBIN STYLE
Write like the wind, edit like an architect. That is what a dear friend, mentor, and great Author, Aaron P. Lazar once told me.
As a child, I read anything I could get my hands on and I loved writing and telling stories. But as I grew older, I found less and less time to read or write. I missed these activities, but I was busy raising my children and attending to other responsibilities
After I grew older, writing became less of a priority, and was subsequently put on the back burner for many years while I raised a family. As my children grew to adolescents, I once again found time to read and I even started penning short stories.
One cozy winter day, my teens were at school and I became consumed by the urge to read. I picked up a book a friend had given to me, poured a cup of coffee, and snuck away to my little corner. Disappointment quickly set in when it became apparent I could not even get through the first chapter. I grew completely frustrated and closed the book. I had no idea what the plot was supposed to be, and the writing was horrible. The author had mixed tenses, and in one loooooooong paragraph, the author changed POV’s three times. I had no idea which character was speaking at any given point. I didn’t know much about the technical side of writing at the time, but I knew enough to understand the book was fatally flawed.
Determined not to let anything get the best of me, I waited a few days and picked up the book again. After thirty minutes of reading ad re-reading, I slung the book across the room. My husband asked me what was wrong. I told him about the writing and how even I could write better than that garbage. Evidently, he took me seriously. He calmly asked what I was waiting for. I just laughed, and told him I was not a writer anymore. However, that day he planted a seed, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to try it.
Eventually, I sat down at the computer, and started writing what I loved to read—FBI suspense/thrillers. I admit, it took a few minutes to get the creative juices flowing, but once I did, the pages started filling up.
After a few days, it all suddenly came to a screeching halt when I realized I did not have a clue about the technical side of an FBI agent’s career. I had not done an outline, or character sheets, or research, or anything. (Mistake # 1.) Readers tend to frown when the book their reading does not seem realistic, even though it is fiction.
Again, my husband said, “Get on the internet. I know you know how to do that. You’re on it all the time.” After giving him the evil eye, I went to work on to the internet. It did not go well to say the least. I was lost in this huge mass of information, and did not know whose advice to follow.
I decided to search for authors who wrote in my same genre. From there I looked at their work and biographies, and I contacted the ones who seemed to have the most in common. I told them I was new, and asked for advice, and to my surprise, several were happy to oblige.
I continued writing, and as soon as I finished the manuscript, I started querying agents. (mistake # 2) I had been so anxious to be the next great author, I did not take the time to edit my novel. It was so full of grammatical errors no one would touch it. I queried more than sixty agents and all of them ended with rejections.
I was about to give up (mistake # 3), until I met a great friend, John Francis, also a writer, and he suggested I write some short stories and offer them for free on various sites to get my name out there. I joined several writers’ sites, met more great people, and began implementing what I had learned. The next thing I knew, I had a blog, a mentor, beta readers, an editor, and almost two thousand new friends on facebook.
I know, I know, you are asking yourself what does all of this has to do with me? In short, this is what I have learned. First: you need to figure out what kind of writer you want to be, and then you must do research on the subject, and lots of it, before you even think about starting your novel. Second: you have to figure out who your characters are and develop them, because if you do not, you will end up with a poorly written book. Third: make time every single day to write. Whether it is thirty minutes, an hour, or five hours. It is not as important what you write, but the fact that you write something every day. The only way to become a better writer is to write. The fourth and final thing is always finish what you start. There is no better feeling in the world than when you type those final two words…the end.
Oh, and I also want to add; when you become successful—and you will as long as you never give up—please don’t ever forget what is was like when you were a newbie. You will meet people along your journey that will remind you of where you were at one time or another. Take time to help them in some way, even if it is only giving them a little advice. Remember, writing is all about enlightening or entertaining the world, it is not about how much money you can make.
Thank you so much Robin for that awesome guest post!