Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What's Your Best Advice?

I am at heart a devotional writer. It's been my "calling" for quite a while. But when I'm not writing you will most likely find me with my nose in a piece of fiction. I love to read. My husband has been telling me for years I should write fiction since I read so much of it. I just never felt the nudge toward doing that. Well, that is until three weeks ago.

This one character from the Bible kept cropping up all over the place. I started to think about her story. What were the parts and pieces of it? What if it was a modern day story? How would it play out? Who would be involved in the story? The questions kept coming. I couldn't get away from them, so I started jotting them down and eventually started answering some of them. For a brief moment, I thought about trying my hand at actually writing the story. But I squashed that idea because "I don't write fiction". That worked until the character woke me up from a dream, giving me the same phrase over and over. I realized it was the answer to one of my questions and possibly the opening line of the book. I used to think authors who said their characters talked to them were crazy or kidding. Not anymore!

So, I've decided to take the plunge and write the book. I'm not new to writing, but I am new to fiction. And even though I've been reading it for years, I still feel ill-equipped to write it well. What is one piece of advice you would give to me or any writer venturing into this arena for the first time. I've got my pen ready to take notes. 



About the Author:

Marietta "Mari" Taylor is the the author of Surviving Unemployment Devotions To Go. Find out more about Mari at her blog or her website, www.mariettataylor.net.



14 comments:

  1. Mari, I started writing poetry and fell into writing fiction when I joined a writing group that required writing both. My best advice would be to pick up your pen and write. Then read it. Then get a critique group and/or writing partner and pass it by them.

    Learning about plot and structure helps, too - as do opening hooks, how to weave in back-story, show, don't tell - the whole nine yards. But don't get hung up on that stuff- my advice would be to start writing and figure out what you need to know that you don't as you go along.

    I'm not a plotter at heart. I sketch out the story and then start writing. Even if I do write some kind of scene outline, it goes out the window after I write the first quarter of the book.

    The first novel I wrote started out at 5000 words - I wrote it in a weekend. Then I spent the next year and a half or two years learning enough to rewrite it into something publishable. But I'd never have bothered if I didn't have the novel written.

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  2. Peggy:

    Thanks for the advice. There are so many parts and pieces to fiction. It can be overwhelming. I do like the idea of just writing and then learning what I need to improve or change along the way. After all, I'm not on a deadline :)

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  3. Mari, Peggy right, go for it and learn along the way. It's so important to belong to good critique group - you'll need the extra set of eyes.

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  4. Thanks Karen! I'm in a critique group but I'm thinking of joining another that's a bit stronger and more experienced in fiction. I do give credit to my current group though. They've been a tremendous help to me so far.

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  5. Mari,

    How exiting! I have no double you will be successful! Definitely very important to be part of a good critique group!

    Best regards,
    Donna
    Award-winning Children’s Author
    Write What Inspires You Blog

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  6. Thanks Donna. I'm excited about but scared all at the same time. Hey maybe I should pull out all those old "The Writer" and "Writer's Digest" magazines ;) I've already paid for what's taught in there.

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  7. Good for you, Mari!! I encourage you to "go for it!" I think the best advice is to just get it down on paper. Allow yourself to write in "free-flow" and give yourself permission to write a really bad first draft. You can (and will) always go back and fix things. But if you hesitate, wondering if the grammar and punctuation is correct or if you are breaking the rules, then you may become blocked. One of my favorite quotes is from Ernest Hemingway: "There are no great writers, only great re-writers." Have fun with it.
    Happy fiction writing, Mari!

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  8. Heidi, I love that Hemingway quote! Think I'll put that over my desk .

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  9. I find that it's easiest to start small - write a few short stories. They'll prime you for longer work and give you some instant(ish) gratification and feedback too if you submit somewhere.

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    1. Magdalena, I like the idea of short stories. Actually after I got the idea for this novel a few more popped in my head but I'm nit sure there's enough for a book with one of them. A short story would be a good solution. Great idea. Thank you.

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  10. Mari, I'll be interested to see how this works out for you. I am in a similar situation, in that I write mainly devotional or inspirational articles. But I enjoy writing novels. I've done NaNoWriMo six times, although the last time was as a rebel so it doesn't count. But that's five novels. They're all rough, as I've never edited them. But at least two of them have good plots and subplots - if I could just get round to doing something with them. But I'm a devotional writer . . .

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    1. Shirley,

      Wow! Five novels? I'm impressed. You and I need to talk :) I'll keep you posted with how this goes. I hope that as I venture into this that you venture into editing at least one of your novels. No sense letting those good stories hang around collecting dust.

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  11. When your characters start talking...take notes. Carry a pad of paper with you or use your phone's voice recorder to get those thoughts down. I completely agree with what everyone has shared so far. Each writer has their own way of drafting their books so don't feel you're doing it wrong. Do what feels right for you, your characters and the story. You'll know if you have gotten off the right path, your characters will fight you and push to get you back on track. Also, don't push your characters to do things they naturally wouldn't do.

    Enjoy this new journey, I'm sure you'll be great.

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  12. Lots of good advice here. Just shut off your internal editor and write, don't read anything you write for at least two weeks. Just get the story down on paper. This is how you build the skeleton of you story, then you can add the other elements later.

    www.theadvantagepoint.wordpress.com

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