Hi! I'm Becca Fitzpatrick, the author of the internationally bestselling HUSH, HUSH saga. When not writing, I'm most likely running, prowling sale racks for shoes (stilettos, please!), or enjoying one of life's many little indulgences: Ice cream, Veronica Mars, losing myself in a book, painting my toenails, or simply daydreaming. I do my best to update this blog as frequently as possible with news on upcoming events, tips for writers, and all things pertaining to my books.
14 June 2012
First, READ. It seems obvious, but more often than not, I have the following conversation with aspiring authors:
Me: You want to write a book? That's great! What are some of your favorite books?
Them: Oh, I don't read much. I don't have time. But I really want to write a book.
Many, many authors have said it, and I'll say it once more for good measure. Writing is reading. It's virtually impossible to do one without the other. I'm willing to bet most of the world's greatest writers are also wonderful readers. I suggest reading everything you can get your hands on, even if it's a genre you've shied away from in the past. Study books. See what works, and what doesn't. Read for fun, and read for learning. Your writing will improve because of it. I promise.
Second, keep a journal. I wrote faithfully in my journal beginning in junior high school and lasting through college. Looking back, it was great practice in free-writing. I developed my writer's voice. I also recorded my adolescent years, and I refer back to those years often now that I write teen fiction. You never know when an event from your own life will inspire a story. It's happened to me multiple times!
Third, join a critique group. Ask your local bookstore or library if they can direct you to a writers' group. If they can't, consider joining an online group. Sharing my work with others, and getting their feedback, has helped my writing tremendously. But I'll let you in on a little secret. I've learned more about the craft of writing from critiquing others' work. Forcing my brain to distinguish what works, and what doesn't, has helped me grow as a writer.
Next, try pantsing. If that doesn't work, try outlining. When I first started writing Hush, Hush, I drafted the book by the seat of my pants. I let the words flow. I gave no forethought to the story, because I thought organic writing happened when the writer let the story sprout uninhibited from the wellsprings of their mind. I've since changed my viewpoint. I'm a hardcore outliner. I spend 3-6 weeks plotting out my stories before I type, "Once upon a time..." Outlining works wonders for me. Warning: It might not do the same for you.
Finally, trust your instincts. If you're worried the middle of your book sags, it probably does. If you think your hero is lackluster, he probably is. The good news? Up until your book is published, you have time to change all those story weaknesses into strengths. Don't rush the editing process. Spend enough time to make the book the best you can. After the book is published, and readers' reactions start pouring in, you'll be glad you did.