Advice for brand new writers

If I had to give advice to myself when I first started writing, these are some of the things I wished I’d known. First of all, focus on the writing and don’t get ahead of yourself. Be sure you pick your genre correctly to begin with and read all you can in that genre. Learn what you like about the main plot, the subplots, the characters, and the overall themes and messages the stories tell. This will help you find your unique voice.

When I first started, I knew nothing. I didn’t major in creative writing or journalism, but I was decent at grammar and a good speller (which doesn’t really even matter anymore because of spellcheck). One thing that helped me with prose, flow, and grammar in fiction, was to take a few chapters from an author I love and retype it all myself in Word. It helped me learn proper layout, form, and flow of the story. Plus, it’s just helpful to do it and see it done well. I promise, it’s worth trying this out. I was skeptical at first, but it is actually very eye-opening.

Find your tribe. You’ll need honest mouths with a fresh set of eyes for when you finally get some words down. It will hurt to get constructive feedback at first, and some people are more brutal than others, but it’ll help prepare you for the endless rejections in querying. And don’t just jump to rejecting or accepting advice you get from other writers. Sometimes they’re wrong, and sometimes they’re right. That’s why it’s important to share with multiple people who are honest, and then compare and contrast the feedback before deciding what to change/not change.

For example, I joined WFWA (Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association) and eventually found smaller groups within that group to bounce ideas off of. I also found many fellow writers on Twitter from pitch parties and such, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

I want to focus on the very beginning, what you should do first. Read a lot. Write a lot. Find friends a lot. Get feedback a lot. Haha. I know you’re thinking that wasn’t grammatically correct, but whatever. It’s true…

I’ll continue this series for the next steps…

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