Sunday, November 11, 2012

Advice to young (female) writers

I was recently searching through my emails for the name of someone and came across a request from Dolly magazine last year for a writing tip. Yes, that Dolly. The one that asks questions like Justin Bieber vs. Cody Simpson: Who has the hottest Instagram pics?

But they also, apparently, ask about writing. Which is cool. Since I can't imagine a magazine for male tweens even acknowledging the existence of fiction, let alone cultivating the dangerous, time-consuming, maddening urge to write.

Benevolent soul that I am, I offered Dolly three tips, but never saw the final article. Seeing this email, however, I did a quick Google search and managed to find it.

Here 'tis:


[TOP SECRET] WRITER Tips. (Dolly 1/9/2011, Issue 489, p144)

We conned some amazing authors into handing over their best writing tips. You can thank us when you're on the bestsellers list!

* "Set a designated writing time and stick to it. Think of it as a date with yourself, and honour it. Even a two-hour chunk once a week is great. Don't be afraid to use treats to get yourself through - I do. It might be some time online skimming my favourite blogs, or going out to get a coffee, or a new magazine after a particularly good session. (When I finish a whole book, I treat myself with something extraordinary. I shan't disclose what for fear of judgement.) (SHOES.)" - Zoe Foster, Amazing Face

* "Read, read, read - you learn so much from what other authors do, and you'll also find yourself inspired, challenged and eager to read more." - Georgia Blain, Closed For Winter

* "The reader should always be inside the head, or sitting on the shoulder, of the most interesting person in the room." - Craig Cliff, A Man Melting

* "Write as often as you can, even if nobody will ever read it. Every journal entry, essay, short story and blog post helps you finetune your skills," - Kelly Gardiner, Act Of Faith


The other two tips I offered were probably more useful (and less disputable):
  • Finish things. A story's not much use without an ending.
  • Set yourself challenges. Write a character's life story in 100 words. Write a story  using only dialogue. Write a story that goes backwards in time.The more constraints, the easier it is to fill those blank pages.

Now to work the fact I've been in Dolly into my author's bio...

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