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Guest Blog - Advice for writers
Let me start this by saying that I’m in no way an expert. I’m not a professor at some top notch university, or even a literature major. What I’ve learned has been from trial and error, reviews, and most importantly, reading.
This leads me to advice point number one.
Read a lot.
Read all different kinds of things from all different people. When you get a feel for what you like, and what makes you tick, try to expand your horizons. Always look for better. Pay attention to how your favorite authors tell a story. Start thinking about what you would change in order to make the experience better.
Bottom line, a better reader makes a better writer.
The next piece of advice I can offer is to get lost in your creation.
You need to sit down in the world you’re creating and have a look around. The world needs to be real enough that you’re in that place, and not at a table somewhere. The character talking needs to be a real person, with real motivations. Like an actor, you need to put on a different personality when you think like that character. And a different personality still when you think like a different character.
To amerce yourself fully in this world means you’ll drag the reader in with you. This is why the reader is reading, after all—she wants to go on a journey. It’s your job to make that happen. And to do this, you need to take that journey yourself.
The next piece of advice is one I realized when I was beta reading (critical reading) for a new writer. She made the comment that maybe she wouldn’t have to revise her manuscript so many times with the next book. She’d thought that all it took was a couple drafts to have something ready to go.
In my experience, this is a huge misconception. In the movie Finding Forrester, this comment is made: “No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head.
The quote is alluding to drafts. As in, many.
When you write with passion, you give a certain voice. Your heart comes up with things your head won’t. But you’ll also create plot holes, illegible passages, and a bunch of garble that no one, not even you, will understand. The next few drafts are combing through and revising. Revise as many times as you can stand it. Walk away for a couple months, forget about the details, and come back. It’ll make your manuscript better.
Next advice tip: Walking away from a draft doesn’t need to be wasted time.
When I walk away, letting a story marinate, I go write something else. Maybe the next book in the series. Maybe something else entirely. I have four books in the rafters right this moment. I’m working on another in the meantime. Walking away, and doing something else in the meantime, means I will forget my intentions when I wrote the story, and return as a reader.
I do this with every single thing I write. I’ll do it with this blog post (update: this is my third and last revision of this post). Revising is a lot of work. But it’s an essential step in the process. People want to turn pages with my stories because I make sure I want to turn pages when I read it. If I don’t like it, I don’t release it. I fix it.
The last piece of advice is what happens when you do revise.
Your eyes should never dull, and you should never skim. You wrote something that filled you with passion; you shouldn’t be able to turn away. For example, I can’t read my Skyline Series without getting sucked in and losing days at a time. I have to finish it. I wrote it, so you’d think I could walk away. But the hero makes me salivate in so many ways, and the heroine keeps me laughing or nodding with how she deals with the hero. The characters and story mesh in a way that is near perfection for my reading desires, and I just want to live their journey over and over.
It took me a great many revisions to get to that point. If ever I got bored, or skipped ahead to what I knew was coming, I’d stop…and re-write. I’d make it so that each part, every single piece, kept my interest. Again, I do this with all my stories. If it doesn’t keep my interest, how can I expect it to keep the attention of anyone else?
Maybe this is all so much work for me because I’m not a natural writer, but it should give you heart. It can be done, regardless of your natural talent; it just takes work to achieve. Like everything. You get back what you put in.
BLURB:I’d always been different. I saw objects in the night where others saw emptiness. Large, human shaped shadows, fierce yet beautiful, melting into the darkness. I collected secrets like other women collected bells; afraid to fully trust lest my oddities be exposed.
Until I saw him. He’d been gliding down the street, unshakable confidence in every step. It wasn’t just that he was breathtakingly handsome with perfect features. Something about him drew me. Sucked my focus to him and then tugged at my body. As his eyes met mine, I was entrapped.
No one had noticed him. He’d been right there, just beyond the light, but only I had perceived.
I had to know if he was real. Or maybe I really was crazy. And even when my secret box was blasted wide open, dangers hurled at me like throwing knives, I couldn’t stop until I unraveled his true identity.
I just had to know.
“She was fated to live.”
“Then why must you save her?”
“Often Fate is struck down by dumb luck.”
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As I met his black eyes, his puzzled expression deepened. “You’re human…”
“We established that, yes. What I want to know is, if I am human, what does that make you? And why do I notice you when others usually don’t?”
His head cocked to the side. His easy balance, his lethal edge; he was like a blade resting on billowing silk. “Very few humans are able to withstand our pheromones. Fewer still to break a Kolma once it has been placed. You’ve not been trained, that’s obvious, so how is this possible when you’re definitely human? Do you possess the blood of another species?”
I could barely think past the pounding ache of my body, begging to touch him. I needed to get a grip! He was revealing some very interesting factoids that I needed to jot down in my mental notebook.
His nostrils flared. “Charles was right; your arousal is a unique scent. Like a spicy, warm drink on a mid-winter’s night. It rises above other smells, entrancing the mind.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A wine country native, K.F. Breene moved to San Francisco for college just shy of a decade ago to pursue a lifelong interest in film. As she settled into the vibrant city, it quickly became apparent that, while she thought making and editing films was great fun, she lacked cinematic genius. For that reason, her career path quickly changed direction. Her next goal was a strange childhood interest, conjured at the dining room table while filling out a form. For some reason, her young self wanted to be an accountant. Thinking on it now, she often wonders how she had any friends. Regardless, it was the direction she finally took.
While she could wrangle numbers with the best of 'em, and even though she wore the crown as the most outspoken, belligerent accountant in the world, her mind got as stuffy as her daily routine. It was here that she dusted off her creative hat and began writing. Now she makes movies in her head, not worried about lighting, shutter speed or editing equipment. Turns out, a computer is much easier to manage than a crowd of actors. She should know, she was an actor at one time.
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