We’re very lucky to have with us today India Drummond who is going to offer up some advice for writers.
India is the author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She knew from age nine that writing would be her passion. Since then she’s discovered many more, but none quite so fulfilling as creating a world, a character, or a moment and watching them evolve into something complex and compelling. She has lived in three countries and four American states, is a dual British and American citizen, and currently lives at the base of the Scottish Highlands in a village so small its main attraction is a red phone box. In other words: paradise.
The supernatural and paranormal have always fascinated India. In addition to being an avid sci-fi and fantasy reader, she also enjoys mysteries, thrillers, and romance. This probably explains why her novels have elements of adventure, ghosts (or elves, fairies, angels, aliens, and whatever else she can dream up), and spicy love stories.
So without further ado! Here’s India’s Advice for Writers!
My advice? Oh, don’t ask me that! Why not? See, I’m perfectly happy to share. I have learned so much from authors I’ve met online, from classes, workshops, and the good, old school of experience. Ask me anything specific, and I’m happy to give freely of whatever knowledge I have, but I rarely offer advice.
I’ve learned that what works for one author often doesn’t work for another. For example, I used to write by the seat of my pants. Then I heard all these authors saying, “You have to learn to plot. It’s the only way.” And I tried it… and failed. I was so frustrated! I felt there was a right way to do things, but I couldn’t do it. Of course, I also assumed this was why I was languishing on the query-go-round.
Then, as I began to write more books, I saw the patterns in my various novel projects, how I created turning points in around 1/3 and 2/3 of the way through a book, how I wove multiple storylines into one. I was developing my own style, and from that, I created an outline template that works for me and makes life easier. Would it work for anyone else? Probably not.
There’s so much advice out there on the internet. Some of it’s good, some… not so much. And as an unpublished writer, I gobbled up every morsel of it, hoping to find the magic nugget of gold that would transport me beyond the forbidden gates and into the world of the published.
Now that I have achieved my dream of publication, I have more perspective. And looking back, I see that I used to spend hours socialising with other writers on the various networks out there. I wish now I had spent at least 50% of that time writing more books.
So here’s my one piece of advice to aspiring authors. It might annoy some to hear it. But if you can get this, it will make you a better writer: Write more books. Quit agonising over your query letter. Quit worrying that one project to death. Quit spending more time blogging than you do writing fiction. Quit spending more time critiquing for others than you do writing fiction.
Write. More. Books.
Why “more books” instead of just making the current project better?
Because the average published author has written six books by the time they get a contract. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will improve your writing like experience. And you can’t get all your experience in one book.
I think part of that is that with each successive story, we experiment. Those experiments lead us into new places, and we begin to see what works and what doesn’t. I promise those unpublished projects won’t be a waste of time. What you learn by the third or fourth book, you can go back and apply to your first book, once you have some perspective on it.
So, yes, there’s some good advice out there. Do learn to write a professional query letter. Do learn how to write a blurb, how to write effective dialogue, how to use just enough description, but not too much… But don’t obsessive over the mountains of advice you can find on the net these days, hoping to learn “the secret”.
The real secret, in my experience, is experience. And you get it by writing. Nothing more, and nothing less.
So go forth and WRITE!
Never give up. Never let yourself get down. Never give in to the voices in your head that tell you it’s too hard or it can’t be done, or maybe getting published is too big a dream. You CAN do it… if you’ll only WRITE… and write… and write.
THAT is what I wish I’d known two years ago.
I second India’s advice! I always tell writers that the only wrong thing to do is to not write. There is no wrong or right way to write. Each person has their own creative ways of doing things. So don’t be stymied by well meaning advice about “the right way” to write. And NEVER GIVE UP!
For more information on India, please check out these sources:
India’s website and blog: http://www.indiadrummond.com/
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/india.drummond.author
To arrange an interview or contact the author, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org