Top Ten List of Advice for Writers by Krysten Lindsay Hager
1. Read, read, read. One of the best bits of advice I ever read in a writing book was to read 100 books of whatever genre you are planning to write for before you begin. That comes from Chapter After Chapter by Heather Sellers. I cringe every single time I hear a writer say, “I don’t read.”
2. Take a literature class. It’s the best way to see how stories are written and put together. It’s like learning from the masters. Sure, you learn a lot in creative writing classes, but a lit class shows you how it’s done with excellent examples.
3. Take creative writing classes to stretch your abilities. You won’t just focus on the genre you want to write and while you may never write poetry or an essay ever again, having to do that in class will stretch your imagination and get your mind thinking in a new way, which might just jump start some new ideas. Plus you’ll get great feedback on your work.
4. Sign up to attend conference and workshops. Conferences are great ways to learn about the industry as well as how to tighten your writing. If your work is getting to the state where you’re ready to submit then it is crucial you attend conferences to learn the business side of things— like how to submit your work. Conference are great opportunities to network as well. And this goes along with my next tip
5. Get a professional critique. This is an amazing service (paid) you can get at conferences. A good critique can open your eyes to what needs to be fixed in your story and where the focus needs to be. I have signed up for conference simply because they had a paid critique option with someone who I respected and wanted to get their feedback on my work. The conference didn’t even pertain to anything I was doing at the time, but one of the people there had worked on a novel I loved.
6. Join a critique group. They’re scary, they can be mean and make you want to run and hide under the covers, but they also can be lifesavers when it comes to finding plot holes in your work. I’d start with a professional critique at a conference and then move onto finding a critique group. Remember if all the group does is nod and say, “That’s great,” it either means you’re better than Hemingway or they fear angering you. Chances are you’re not better than Hemingway, so you want a group that is open to picking apart your work because that’s the only way it’ll improve. And if you are in a group, always start with mentioning something positive about the other members’ work before you begin your critique.
7. Get a blog. In case you worried you won’t have enough to write about and blogging isn’t your strong point, realize that it’s not all about what you can say, it’s about bringing other authors and writers into the mix. You can introduce your friends and readers to new writers and network that way. If you plan to try to get published (or are published) this is a great way of getting exposure before your work comes out.
8. Get a website. A lot of writers just have a blog and I feel that’s a big mistake because when you click on a blog, you just see the latest post and a bit of info on the side. Perhaps there are a few things to click on, but people have to search more for of what they are looking for. With a website you can have drop down menus, pages devoted to different things (separate books, faqs, reviews, etc.) It’s easier for a reader to find more about you and your work on a website than just a blog. It was also one of the first recommendations booksellers gave to me when I asked for advice.
9. Recognize you’re going to have to participate in social media, but pick only the things you genuinely enjoy. Things can come across forced, humor can get lost in posts and come off wrong, and a myriad of things can look awkward if you’re not into it. So pick what you like whether it be blogging, Tweeting, status posts—whatever comes naturally. Don’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with because people can pick up on that.
10. Write because you love to write and not because the goal is publication. Embrace the writing journey. It takes the pressure off of you and the writing will be so much better. You edit differently when you are writing for the joy of the storyline instead of trying to fit the manuscript into the market.
Hope you find these tips helpful and I’d love to hear how your journey is going. Connect with me using the social links in my bio below.
Author Spotlight! — NEW RELEASE! March 24, 2015 —
Best Friends… Forever? (Landry’s True Colors Series) by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Tag line: Good friends have your back, but some go behind it.
Blurb: Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.
Landry gets her first boyfriend, but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue modeling competition.
EXCERPT 1: — I got ready for bed and then stopped to check my social media page one more time and that’s when I saw it — another picture of Peyton, India, and Devon hanging out. They were sitting on the couch with their heads scrunched close together and laughing. It was a cute picture, but then I saw the caption: So glad we could all be together for the holidays. Love these guys soooo much! Best friends forever. #Alltogether #Threemusketeers #BestFriendsForever #ThreeBestFriends #ThreesCompany.
My heart sank. It was India’s caption and anyone who read it would think what a close‑knit group of friends and not realize anyone was missing from that photo. Sure, I was in another state, so naturally I couldn’t be there for it, but the way India wrote that made me feel so left out. I mean, what did she mean by the “ʺThree’s Company”ʺ hashtag? And sometimes people tagged friends who weren’t there in pictures and added, “ʺWish you were here,”ʺ but there was no mention of a fourth member of the group.
“Ready for bed, hon?” Mom asked coming into my room.
“Yeah, just signing off.”
“Okay, sleep well.”
I got into bed and hoped I was reading into things, but the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away.
“Landry, it’s gotta be so awkward for you to be going to Vladi’s school next year,” Tori said. “I mean, what if you run into him during the tour?”
“It’s a huge place,ʺ Ashanti said. “People break up all the time. It’s not a big deal.ʺ
Tori raised her eyebrows as if to say, “Yeah, right,” and went back to her sandwich. Meanwhile my delicious homemade soup was no longer sitting well. It never occurred to me Vladi might be around during the first pre‑freshman tour. I would be mortified if I ran into him and he was with a girl. Or worse yet, running into him, and he was with Yasmin. Plus, I hadn’t told my mom about the breakup, so if she saw him, she’d probably go over to talk to him. I could already imagine it: “Landry, Vladi’s here! Hon? Why are you hiding behind the garbage can? Your boyfriend, Vladi, is here. Come say, ‘hello.’ Stop trying to run away. Why is everyone laughing and pointing at you and calling you a ‘loser dumpee?’ What does that mean?”
Well, maybe the world would end and I wouldn’t have to deal with high school or Vladi and my mother running into each other.
Sadly, the world did not end, and on Thursday, we all had to go to the high school for a freshman information night from 6 to 9 p.m.
Book Trailer for “Best Friends… Forever?”
Buy Links for “Best Friends… Forever?”
What people are saying about True Colors (Landry’s True Colors Series Book One):
From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK: “This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!”
From Books & Authors Spot: “This book is such an inspiration for those who just care about their looks and are tensed about them. This thing is looks aren’t everything. This book is related to every teen’s problem. Hager has written a very inspiring novel.”
About the Author
Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image in both True Colors and Best Friends…Forever?
Krysten is an Amazon international bestselling author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
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