Any advice for a novice writer?

I want to do a bit of writing as part of my life when I get out of college, find myself a stable job and all that. I'm mostly looking to write YA fiction. Any authors or hobby-writers want to give me some starter tips to help get a fire under my arse?


Most Helpful Guy

  • Firstly, it's a good habit to always re read what you just got done writing, ie. Any sentences or paragraphs or pages. To check for errors, misspellings, misgramer etc.. makes it easier.

    Secondly, listen to a certain music or watch a certain movie or read certain books to help spark an interest you to start wanting to write about that certain thing and it helps the creative juices when your in the mood for that.

    Thirdly, research everything, do decent to good research on any facts you plan on putting into the story so you don't accidentally look silly for mistaking at date or event etc..

    Fourthly, listening to relaxing music while writing helps your writing and thinking go smoothly.
    If your writing something about a certain time period, listen to music from that time period, helps with the creative juices and helps put you in a state of mind as does watching a documentary or show or movie about that time period so you can picture your characters and story better when writing.

    Fifthly, at the least double space each paragraph and indent the first sentence in each paragraph to make it look cleaner.

    Sixth, after a charecter speaks, press enter to use the next line, I can't remember the exact reason but that was what they taught in language classes and reading classes and a good amount of writing classes.

    Seventh, enjoy your writing, don't pick a story you find dull or no interest in, that's the easier way to get writers block and let me tell you, that block ways a ton. Picking a subject you enjoy keeps the creative juices going and helps you write easier.

    Eighth, use descriptive detail, it helps the reader imagine and picture the scene, but not overly descriptive because then they lose interest.

    Ninth, when picking a publishing company, do a lot of research on them, for example, past reviews, options authors have on that company, rate of sales, success, how they treat their authors, their small print when signing with them, how honest and fourth right they are etc.. You could easily be burned by the wrong publishing company, I have friends who were burned badly by theirs, Knopf and scholastic are fairly good companies. Also brush up on your bargaining skills, because you could end up with a raw deal and end up making a measly amount Everytime your book sells and end up with crumbs for your royalties.

    Lastly, brush up on your interview skills and sales skills, because when your at a publishing company, your pretty much selling yourself and book.


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What Girls & Guys Said

  • Depends on exactly what kind of YA fiction we're talking about.

    If it has ANY fantasy component to it, yr best start would be to get invoved in fanfic ("fanfiction"). I don't write fanfic, so I don't know the most popular boards, but it's hugely popular on the internet so a couple google searches should be all you really need to get started there.
    Getting a following in fanfic *should* be like getting a following on a site like DeviantArt -- it's probably about 50% just putting out tons and tons of stuff, about 30% how good the stuff is, and about 20% how well you know yr audience.

    If you get a following in fanfic, that's the best springboard into selling a YA manuscript to a publisher. You'll still have to write the entire thing first, but, if you have TONS of followers on a bunch of fanfic boards, then that makes you a better bet to actually *sell books* -- which means you'll be more likely to get a contract.


    If it's non fantasy, then, really, you're going to be following the well-trodden path of other fiction authors: you need to WRITE AN ENTIRE MANUSCRIPT FIRST -- yes, that means an entire book -- and THEN start shopping it around.

    You should do this through a "literary agent", who is basically a lawyer who's like a sports agent except with books.
    A reptable literary agent will not charge any money upfront at any point (if they do, RUNNNNNN); rather, they'll just take a commission from yr book deal. Now that the internet exists, you can look up going rates for those things, although as a currently unpublished author you can expect a slightly shittier deal the first time around.



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