When my first novel came out – in 2000 – by all weights and measures, I had “made it” as a mid-list fiction writer. I’d secured a two book deal (the second: a collection of short stories, the most elusive prey on the planet), a tidy first-timers advance, and a round of positive reviews from all the usual suspects.
Archive for the ‘Advice for New Writers’ Category
Here, I’d like to list out my last five of ten truths about professional jealousy (as I see it), which concern how you can deal with the green-eyed monster when it will not simply be slayed.
I knew I’d found a keeper when my boyfriend-at-the-time barely flinched the first time he saw one of our fights, word-for-word, in print. “You writers,” he said. “You air your dirty laundry. That’s how it is.”
There’s a tendency for writers to obsess over rules. If you’re reading my blog series “Chasing the First Sale,” you know I’m the chiefest of sinners; it’s packed full of rules, and there’s a good reason for that: rules are helpful. They give shape to good tendencies and bad.
Strange Horizons is a non-profit magazine of and about speculative fiction and related nonfiction. The magazine was founded in September 2000 by Mary Anne Mohanraj, who was Editor-in-Chief until 2003.
These days, many authors focus more time on self-promotion through social media than on marketing their books. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, but with all the social media hype, it can be easy to forget about the fundamentals.
Don DeLillo wrote: “One truth is the swing of the sentence, the beat and poise, but down deeper it’s the integrity of the writer as he matches with the language.”
Can the same thing be said about a writer’s connection to the work of another?
In Silent Interviews, Samuel R. Delany said: “I begin, a sentence lover. I’m forever delighted, then delighted all over, at the things sentences can trip and trick you into saying, into seeing. I’m astonished—just plain tickled!—at the sharp turns and tiny tremors they can whip your thoughts across.
The biggest reason people fail at creating and sticking to new habits is that they don’t keep doing it.
That seems obvious: if you don’t keep doing a habit, it won’t really become a habit. So what’s the solution to this obvious problem? Find a way to keep doing it.
When I first decided to take up writing as a serious pursuit, I figured the best way to get started was to ask a writer for advice. My lucky break was that Connie Willis happened to be in town to give a reading, and she gave me a wonderful tutorial in the basics; just Connie, her husband, and my wife, talking for a couple of hours in a Laramie bookstore. I owe a lot to Connie’s early advice.