What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Jenny Schwartz is a hopeful romantic with a degree in Sociology and History — people watching and digging into the past. She lives in Western Australia and is working towards her dream of living by the sea. Jenny writes romantic suspense, as well as contemporary and paranormal romance.
Today Jenny Schwartz will be talking about the best and worst pieces of writing advice she's ever received.
The best five pieces of advice are:
1. Butt-in-chair and write, from “Uncle Jim” at the Absolute Write Watercooler forum years ago.
2. Turn off your inner perfectionist editor and just get that first draft down. I can’t remember where I first read this advice, but it’s excellent. The more I write, the cleaner my first drafts are becoming, but I still throw this “shut up” at my inner editor when needed.
3. Read GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon was the advice from a Carina Press editor. She was so right. I needed that kick to strengthen the conflict in my stories. It also helps with character development.
4. Talking with my critique partner, Eliza Redgold, I had a break-through moment. Because I tend to underplay things, I need to “add more melodrama”. Believe me, what I think of as melodrama is just needed conflict.
5. Be kind to yourself. It’s a lot of the self-help wisdom out there, and it’s needed. It’s easy to become obsessed with a book (or anything else) and sacrifice other things to it. A healthy life is about balance. So this year, I’m trying to add more exercise. Wish me luck!
I only have two pieces of bad writing advice, but they’re significant.
1. Follow what other successful people have done and copy them. Yes, this can work, but how do you know you’re copying the right things and do you have the skills to do so, and has the vein the successful author tapped already run out? Far better to develop a strategy that takes into account the things successful authors do (and avoids the things unsuccessful authors do), but which is coherent and appropriate to you, your goals and situation, and how you see the publishing landscape/market evolving.
2. Write what you know. No! Write what you dream of! Write about something that interests you passionately even if you’re not an expert. You can learn. What can’t be learned is passion, and passion is what engages readers. Sure, write what you know if that’s what you’re passionate about. Remember, storytelling is about exploring new worlds, even when it’s just about seeing our current lives with new eyes.
Advice is an interesting beast. It can help us, but it can also be an excuse to hide behind, a reason not to act. Learn, discern what suits you, and jettison the rest. Advice is often that thing we tell others, but don’t do ourselves. I’ve tried to scrape away self-delusion and give you the truth of my writing journey as I see it, but yours will be different. Good luck!
* A year ago, Lanie Briers escaped a serial killer. She grew up in a theatre family and her act was mediumship, but not anymore. Life, now, is a hidden retreat above a quirky Bloomsbury museum, where she waits and watches.
* Nick Tawes is an unexpected intrusion. He's a landscape architect filming a television series on roof gardens, and he intends to build one in Lanie's aerial territory. He has his own demons, old family troubles, that lure Lanie out of her refuge and into living again.
* But as summer progresses and the sky garden grows, Lanie's enemy is closing in--because some secrets must go to the grave.
* Lanie had used stories to shock and survive. She’d used them carefully, crafting her old stage act of mediumship to draw out people’s stories and reflect them, eliciting gasps of awe at her insight. Magic, went the murmur. But it wasn’t magic. They were the same tricks conmen used.
* And she’d used those tricks brutally, as the one weapon left to her. Survival had cost her the joy of performing.
* But that was the past. She forced the memories away. Here was safe harbor, the library that was a sea captain’s final berth. A fantasy, but a comforting one.
* She was searching for a spy glass to add to the photos she’d take when the electronic beep from the front door signaled the entrance of a visitor.
* A tug at her jacket and a pat to her hair—Good, the chignon doesn’t wobble—and she was ready to perform.
ANNOUNCEMENT! Jenny Schwartz will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour! So be sure to leave a comment AND use the Rafflecopter below. Also, visit the other tour stops for a greater chance of winning!
a Rafflecopter giveaway