Friday, February 15, 2013

Amazing Advice from Some Amazing Authors

Sorry I am a day late posting this, but Valentines Day sort of caught up with me. But a friend of mine Bev Kodak post a question to all of her author friends for advice to give to young writers. For those of you who don't know Bev she is a teacher and track director of the YA Lit Track at Dragon*Con. I asked her if I can post the advice she had been give and she said yes. So here is some incredible advice from some amazingly talented authors.


Bev Kodak - Author pals, if you could teach sixth graders about writing, what would that lesson be.
Jana Oliver Writing is the coolest thing ever. All those stories in your head are important and need to be told. At first what you write might not be any good, but the more you write the better you'll become. Someday you'll look back and say "Wow, I wrote that!"

Allison Giddens That writers live tax-free in Ireland. Oh, nevermind. You said "author pals." I thought you said "other pals."

Davey Beauchamp Be creative and have fun.

Adam Selzer Well, my best "practical" advice is "follow the trends and stick to the formula or you'll never get off the mid-list, where life sucks." Beyond that, though, it's that if you're not having fun with what you're writing, it probably won't be fun to read, either.

Steve Berman Hmm, that you don't need to write what you know - you can think of writing like trying on costumes. If you just try on a cowboy hat you won't make a convincing cowboy, but if you add all the other elements, horse, spurs, pistols, etc. Same with writing. If you want to tell the story of someone different from you, you can, just add details so it seems more real.

Carol White I'm nonfiction, but that still counts, right? I'm not sure if this is applicable to six graders, but it is the one thing I wish all my college students understood. There is no such thing as perfect writing. You can approach but never reach perfection. ...See More

Sharyn November Reading a lot is important -- it teaches you how a good story works. And that means both fiction and nonfiction. Someone can tell you a very boring made-up story; someone else can tell you a really, really interesting true one. "Writing" doesn't mean o...See More

Kathleen O'Shea David Don't stop writing. Outlining the story can be helpful so you can see where you are going with it. Read a lot because you can learn about writing by reading. Think about what the author did that you liked and what you didn't like. Also figure out how you would have done it differently if you don't like something.

Heather Brewer Writing is rewriting. Editing is so crucial to creating a good story.

Kathleen Duey As you start writing, start noticing things. Watch people's faces, feel the wind. Wonder what the check-out guy at the market is thinking about that makes him look so happy. Listen to people talking, Let the world pour in.

Robin Ryan Carroll From the technical/business side of writing, but equally valid for all types of writing: Proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, syntax and usage are not optional, no matter how creative you are. The goal of writing is to communicate, and communication is impaired every time the reader spots a typo or a grammar mistake, or has to puzzle out your meaning because of a misplaced modifier or an improper antecedent.

Janine Spendlove Start writing & don't stop.

Bev Kodak I love all of these answers! I may get the opportunity to teach a class of my choice next year. I'm thinking fiction writing for kids.

Alma Alexander Read a lot. Write a lot. Read some more. Keep writing. THis is not the sort of thing you can ever get a shiny diploma for - a good writer is made through diving in head first into words, wherever they may be, and living adn breathing them until it becomes second nature. So - read. Write. Rinse and repeat. (and yes, if you need any more Skypers, I'm game).

Cynthia Leitich Smith It doesn't have to be a big time commitment. Write for a couple of minutes a day. And everything counts, even text messages.

Diana Tixier Herald Sorry to be chiming in so late. So much good advice already posted. All I would add is write about what you love or what you find totally fascinating.

Michelle Brundage Weston Sorry I'm so late in commenting on this. I would teach them about the importance of using strong sensory details in their writing. For instance, in the Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe, CS Lewis adds details like Lucy feeling the fur coats which changes to the prickle of pine needles when she enters Narnia. Those sensory details help make Narnia feel real and come alive...

Kathryn Fernquist Hinds Sorry that I'm so late, too, but here are my thoughts: Read as much as you can--all kinds of things, fiction and nonfiction alike. Be curious; ask questions; imagine answers; pay attention. Have writing materials handy at all times. Do not believe in w...See More


  1. Awesome advice - a whole plethora of it! Thanks!

  2. I'm adding this article onto my weekly round-up for next week! Thanks for posting this.

  3. Wow! Thanks. A wise friend once told me, "You don't have to be perfect, you just have to sit down and write." Or stand up.