This time a year ago, I started scribbling a goofy little story just for fun. I titled it “The Artist and the Architect,” because I’m literal like that. Six weeks from now, THE DIRTY SECRET will be released from Carina Press, an imprint of of Harlequin.
One of the promo bits I was asked to participate in was a Tuesday Tip for So You Think You Can Write, Harlequin’s new voices in romance project.
But who am I to give advice? I’m still a novice at this.
In the past six years, I’ve published nearly half a million words across various platforms, and every single process was different. My only constants:
I hand write my first drafts.
Climbing out of my research-holes requires Elvish rope, every time.
My love for the Shatner comma is epic.
But here are a few things I’ve learned in this crazy journey of words that might be useful to beginning writers:
Get involved with other writers.
Write in a fandom and get some feedback. Play on a forum outside your comfort zone, where you can learn something new. Go to a crit group at your library. Don’t do this alone.
Let your first draft be rough.
This is your gesture drawing, your first exploratory jog in a new park. Let it be messy. Spending a lot of energy in making it technically perfect can cut into the creativity, or worse, keep you from finishing. Get it down, and clean it up later.
Make it a sensory experience.
How do your words appeal to your readers physically? Are you describing what your characters feel? How are their thoughts and actions affected by a perfume, a texture on the skin?
Read your final drafts aloud.
Where your tongue stumbles-where you hesitate in the sentence, wondering which word needs emphasis-your reader will too. Rework these places so that your language doesn’t detract from the story.
Write what you love.
And live, long, and prosper.