Monday, September 3, 2012

Writing tips for newbie authors

When I first started to write I wanted to read about other people's experiences with writing.  How they overcame the challenges and what tips they could share.  Why re-invent the wheel?  If we can learn from others then it's all the better for us.  Rebecca Graf, author of Deep Connections, shares the FIVE most important tips she learnt when starting out as a writer.
"There is no guide to becoming a writer. They might claim their books are the way to help you down that path, but they can’t be. Why? Because every writer is different and approaches writing in a different manner. But there are some things that every writer should know as they start out." Rebecca Graf

#1 – Characters Will Talk
People think I’m crazy when I say this, but I have no idea what is going to happen in the next chapter. Why not? The characters haven’t told me what is happening. You don’t know how many times I start writing and something different than I had imagined comes out of my fingers and onto the keyboard. I try to change it, but they won’t let me. Be prepared for the characters taking over. It’s their story after all.

#2 – The First Draft is Garbage
Don’t expect your first draft to be perfect. It won’t be. The story idea might be brilliant, but your initial writing will not be anywhere near publishable. My first draft of Dark Connections was only 25k words. I knew it could be better. I slept on it and went back over it. By the time I was done it was 85k in words. My first draft was garbage.

#3 – You Must Be Willing to Learn
You’re not perfect and neither is your writing. You’ll make mistakes and will need to change them. The best writers create inconsistencies. It happens. As a writer, you need to learn how to write better. There is always room to write better. You must be willing to learn. I met an aspiring author who refused to change any of her work. She did not want to be told to correct anything. She honestly felt that her first draft was the one to publish. Not!

#4 – Editing is the Hardest Part
You think writing is challenging? It’s the easy part. Editing is the hard part. You rewrite a scene to improve it only to find out that it impacts the story later on in the book. Now, you have to find all the places it impacts and fix it which might lead you to changing more scenes as you are inspired in your editing. You’ll delete whole passages and add dozens of new ones. You’ll add a new character and have to weave him in or you’ll kill one off and rewrite the ending.
Editing is hard!

#5 – Editing is Important
Don’t think your work doesn’t need editing and proofreading. The editing I mentioned above is your own editing of the material to create the final manuscript for submission. This editing is the one that a professional should do. Why? Because they are objective. They aren’t personally vested in it. They can see the problems more clearly. They can point out weak character development. As you write, you see it all in your mind. As a reader, they see something different.

Rebecca Graf worked as an accountant for 20 years before taking a chance at a dream. Starting off with writing online, she began to build a reputation and a number of followers. Now, she has one children's book, A Gift for a Mouse, published with Deep Connections being her first adult novel. She lives near Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband and three children as well as two cats, Oreo and Cookie, and two dogs, Bug and Mocha. Rebecca has started her own publishing company, Silver Tongue Press, with two partners. Their goal is to help new authors to achieve their dreams. She also spends her days crocheting and knitting....
Twitter: @rebeccagraf
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Rebecca Graf said...

Thank you for having me. It was a delight. Wish you the best of luck.

BK said...

Thank you for hosting Rebecca :)

BrendaC said...

Ms. Graf is a new to me author, I look forward to reading some of her work.