It's my final week in the writing cave before I send my WIP to my editor (eep), so today, Amy Tintera is guest blogging for me. Take it away, Amy!
There’s a lot of good writing advice out there. So much, in fact, that I’m not going to talk about it. Instead, let’s talk about the advice I totally disregarded.
(But first, a quick note: Everyone is different. No one can tell you how best to write. Just because the below didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Try a few of them!)
And now, the Writing Advice I Totally Ignored:
1. Don’t rush just to get words down. There’s no point in writing words you know you’ll delete later.
Nope, sorry, this one doesn’t work for me. I’ve moved away from word count a bit, and I do focus more on producing quality words, but I still need my messy first drafts. In fact, they’re not even first drafts. Their messy messy messy rough drafts I maybe don’t even finish. I recently wrote 45,000 terrible words of Reboot book two. It was insanely helpful in figuring out the story.
2. Find a critique group to read your work as you write it and help motivate you to finish.
Critique groups that meet weekly (in person or online) are not for me. I can’t have someone else’s opinion on my work when I don’t even know what I’m doing yet. My beta readers (basically crit partners who read the finished second draft) are very, very important. But I like to keep early reads to my agent and my sister (and even then, on a very limited basis).
3. Read your draft out loud.
This one will probably come back to haunt me. I’ll probably be standing up in front of everyone at my book launch, reading from Reboot, and realize it’s terrible. But still, the idea of reading 80,000 words out loud sounds exhausting and terrifying. No thank you.
4. Publish a short story first.
This is really great advice for people who write short stories. But I don’t. I write novels. Short stories sound very, very, hard to me. You have way less words to build character arcs and your story. (Although, I would consider writing a novella. But I haven’t tried that either. Yet.)
5. Get a professional editor to look at your manuscript before querying agents.
I actually saw this advice on an agent’s submission guidelines and I don’t like it. I think writers do need outside people to read their work - critique groups, beta readers, your (honest) friends - but I do not think you need to pay a professional before even submitting to agents. (This, of course, does not apply to self-publishing. If you’re self-publishing I think you really do need a professional freelance editor.)
6. Print out your manuscript when it’s time to edit. It will make it easier to catch mistakes.
It might be easier on my eyes, but that sounds like a waste of paper and ink to me. And I’m really bad about replacing my paper and ink. Let’s not make my life more difficult.
7. Write first thing in the morning, before you go to work or start your day.
DUDE IF YOU WANT TO GET UP AT 5AM TO WRITE THAT’S COOL. I’M JUST GOING TO BE OVER HERE SLEEPING.
8. Don’t plot the ending in advance. You have to earn it.
I can’t remember where I read this piece of advice, but it’s always stuck with me because it provoked a major WHAAAAAAT response. Of course you have to earn your ending. But for me, I need to know where I’m headed in order to figure out how to get there.
9. Keep a diary or a journal.
Spending that much time with myself sounds terrifying. I’d much rather hang out in my character’s heads.
10. Don’t start out writing novels.