Thursday, June 24, 2010

Writing Advice

I love reading articles about writing advice, especially when that advice comes from other writers, and lately I've come across a flurry of great advice online. So I thought I'd share a few of the articles and blog posts that I've read and enjoyed lately:

"Be Stubborn" by Lilith Saintcrow

"Time Management" by Maggie Stiefvater

"Things I Cannot Change" by Sara Zarr

"Time Lost and Found" by Anne Lamott

"Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Speed" by Dean Wesley Smith

"What Do I Wish I'd Known" by Gregory Frost

"Real Life Writing" by Michelle Zink

"Hurry Up and Wait" by Melissa de la Cruz

"On Love and Writing" by Billy Coffey

And here's my two cents... I received an email the other day from a reader who wanted to know how to start writing a book. Here's my response:

Excellent question... For me, the trick to starting any writing project is a bit like the trick to starting a swimming session. If you build it up to be a big deal (telling yourself that the water will be cold or that you’re a lousy diver or that you hate having water in your ears), then you’ll discover that it’s very hard to get yourself into that pool. But if you tell yourself that all you have to do is stick your feet in and if you feel like going further, great, and if not, that’s fine too, then you stand a much better chance of actually swimming (and also enjoying yourself).

In other words, don’t wait until you have the perfect day or the perfect story or the perfect inspiration. Just sit down and write some sentences about one of your ideas. Next day, write a little more. It’s okay if it isn’t good at first. It’s okay if you end up abandoning the story and switching to something else. The key is to write every day whether you feel like it or not, whether you love the story or not. That’s the way to become a writer: by writing.

Good luck! And have a great summer filled with lots of words!

Happy writing!


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Free Essay

Until midnight on Tuesday (6/15), Smart Pop Books is offering my essay about Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series for free on their website!

From my essay "Percy, I Am Your Father" in Demigods and Monsters:

Note to self: Do not become a parent in a fantasy novel. Seriously, have you ever noticed how disturbingly often parents in fantasy novels are dead, kidnapped, missing, clueless, distant, or unknown? Kind of makes me want to round up all the authors, sit them on those pleather psychiatrist couches, and say, "Now, tell me about your mother..."

On the other hand, it works very nicely as a storytelling device: Get the parents out of the way and then something interesting can happen. I think of it as the Home Alone technique. You see it in books by C. S. Lewis, Lemony Snicket, J. K. Rowling... and you definitely see it in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. All the kids at Camp Half-Blood, including the protagonist Percy, are separated from their parents.

But are the parents really gone from the story?

Click here to read more

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