Pencil to Paper

The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

Tips from 101 Habits of Novelists April 5, 2011

Filed under: Books,Writing — katblogger @ 8:09 PM

In an earlier post, I mentioned checking out the book 101 Habits of Highly Succesful Novelists, assembled by Andrew McAleer. Not everything was the brightest pearl of wisdom I’ve ever seen – some of them were more like… shiny pebbles. You know, useful, but not something I’d paint on a blimp and fly over a young writer’s convention. If they even have blimps anymore. I heard only two exist now… moving on. Sorry.

There were a few super helpful suggestions, though. I’ll mention them here – paraphrased, so I don’t break one of the unspoken suggestions. (Don’t plagarize.)

1. If you write about something or somewhere, know what you’re talking about. I have to put my NaNo novel on hiatus because the characters visit LA, Las Vegas, Austin, Washington DC, and a few other places I haven’t been. Obviously, it’s a little hard to write accurately about these places. And if you just make stuff up, chances are someone from the area will read it and say, “Wow, this person is totally clueless.” And ta da – you just lost a reader.

2. Start small. I thought this was really great, under rated advice. Don’t start with novels. Try getting some poetry or short stories published to build your reputation. Even fanfic helps build a fanbase. It makes sense. I pretty much hero worship Julia546, who writes the most amazing Leviathan fic I’ve ever read. If she mentioned that she’d written several novels and we should all buy them – in hardcover – my only question would be, “What’re the titles?” If people like your fanfiction or smaller work, they’re more likely to give a longer work a try.

 3. In the end, don’t let the market, the editors, or even the readers dictate what you write. Write what you want to write. Otherwise, what’s the point? There are easier ways of making money. Writers write for the love of it. That’s the truth.



2 Responses to “Tips from 101 Habits of Novelists”

  1. Thanks for the post. I’ve found it really useful.

  2. Kristin Says:

    Ummm…you’ve been to Washington DC…many times.

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