Tips and Advice for Writers

October 3rd, 2011 · No Comments »

Do you know what the coolest job in the world is? A sherbet taste tester. The second best job in the world is the one that Santa Claus has, and I mean the real one not the ones in shopping centres. And the third best job I reckon is being an author (mainly because you can eat sherbet and wear a Santa outfit whilst doing it).

So for all you out there who enjoy writing or telling stories, I have compiled a list of resources that might help get you closer to doing it for a living – and it is a very lucrative industry!! I received over a million dollars after the publication of my first book though unfortunately that was in a dream and not in real life. In real life I received a packet of peanuts for my first book, but I should point out they were delicious. In the contract for my next book I’m going to ask for some sherbet as well. Fingers crossed!

The advice you will get no matter whom you ask:

Read!! Read lot of books and lots of different types of books. Read some classics, read new stuff.

Write!! That might sound obvious but there are lots of people out there who want to be a writer but they don’t actually do anything about it. The more you write the better you will get at it.

Rewrite!! The real art of writing comes in the rewrite. Good writers rewrite pieces many times over. Don’t expect to create something brilliant straight away because not many people do.

Be patient. Writing takes time and getting published can take a lifetime. If you don’t love the actual process of writing, then I would suggest a change in career (see the first paragraph for some options).

Keep informed

Get the bible – the Australian Writers’ Marketplace book. It lists all publishers, publications, competitions and more. http://www.awmonline.com.au/

With the internet you have such great access to information and opportunities. You should check out the following to keep you informed about all the different opportunities out there for new and emerging authors:

ASA Australian Society of Authors

Writers Centres – (NSW, VIC, TAS, WA, SA, NT, QLD, ACT)

Pass it On – a great weekly e-newsletter

SCBWISociety of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Writing a Novel?

When you get to the stage of having complete manuscript, you have to be brave and show it to people. Friends and family will generally give you positive advice – try to find that person who is not afraid to give you constructive criticism. Another option is to send your manuscript off to a professional manuscript assessment agency – there are heaps around, so you can google them. They cost money but it can really be worth it because you will get great advice.

Writing a Picture Book?

For those who want to write picture books, Mem Fox’s guide is definitely the first thing you should read:

http://www.memfox.net/so-you-want-to-write-a-picture-book.html

The craft of writing

Chris Eboch is an American children’s author and she always has excellent tips about writing at her blog.

Competitions/Opportunities

Writing for competitions is an excellent way to give yourself deadlines and get you writing. It doesn’t matter if you don’t win – it’s all good practice. There are many comps around – here are some for kids that I’m aware of:

For secondary school students there is the Somerset National Novella Writing Competition.

For primary school students there is the Wakakirri National Story Festival Story-Writing competition

Dymocks have a writing competition now – The Andy Griffiths short story competition – entries for this year need to be in by the end of October

For those in NSW, the CBCA run the Frustrated Writer’s Mentorship Program, which is an excellent opportunity.

So there you go – I hope some of this was a help. Happy writing …

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