Many of you may have heard of the author Tera Lynn Childs (Forgive My Fins, Fins Are Forever, Oh. My. Gods., Goddess Boot Camp). I asked her what advice she could give to starting authors and I loved her answer:
“Whenever an aspiring writer asks me for advice I tell them three things: 1. Read as much as possible, so you can learn how other writers use words to tell story. 2. Write as much as possible, so you can learn how you use words to tell story. 3. Become a keen observer of life, so you can learn to notice the details that will make your storytelling feel more real and tangible. And, finally, once you have a start on those, then my bonus advice is finish the book.”
-Tera Lynn Childs
Amazing advice, right?
“Read as much as possible, so you can learn how other writers use words to tell story.”
Reading can be like a doorway into an entirely new world. You enter a world of endless possibilities and everything you find there is something new you can learn or experience. I can honestly say that I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for the books I have read. Tamora Pierce’s In The Hand of The Goddess was the first book to make me start seeing those possibilities. Not only can you learn about characters, plot development, be inspired, creating character chemistry and more from other authors, you can learn about yourself and even love. Making time for reading and books are an author’s truest asset.
“Write as much as possible, so you can learn how you use words to tell story.”
Writing isn’t only about what you say; it is also about how you say it. Each person has his or her own style of writing – there is no true/proper way to write as long as you express yourself. The more you write, the more you are able to understand how you as an author want to write. When you reread what you have written you can see how it comes across, how easy or complicated it is to understand, if you enjoy reading it yourself and more.
In my experience, the more I write the more I want to write. I start enjoying it more and getting more invested in my stories. I feel almost like a reader at times when I realize what might happen next, even though I am the one who gets to make the decision.
“Become a keen observer of life, so you can learn to notice the details that will make your storytelling feel more real and tangible.”
Noticing the things around you can help you in many ways. You can see how people interact, notice quirks you can add to characters, and realize how to give them more depth. You can also notice characters, not in terms of people but in terms of the characters you hadn’t realized you wanted to create. A game I used to play with my friends when I was younger was to sit above a mall food court, look down and watch the people below us. Then we would pick out a person, alone or with someone, and make up a life story about the person – something unique, fun or crazy. Now you try – you can make it anything you want and see where it goes from there!
Never be afraid to try something new, no matter how unorthodox it might seem. When we write, we are opening the door to a brand new world, but it is the world around us that can inspire us to go through those doors.
Please give a big round of comments for the wonderful Tera Lynn Childs!