Advice for Aspiring Authors

looklagoon-stairway-to-the-clouds-stock-photoIt takes a lot of patience and writing practice to become a professional writer. The wonderful thing about writing is that you’re never too young or too old to start.

First, I would recommend reading lots of books on the craft of writing – it’s how I got started. Read books on how to create interesting characters, compelling plotlines, and all about your targeted genre (such as mystery, YA, children’s books, science fiction, or romance). There are lots of magazines you can pick up at your local bookstore with amazing tips on writing.

Second, take some courses or go to a workshop given by a professional writer. You might join a critique group with other writers who will give you honest, valuable feedback. Or do what I did – sign up for a college course (or 2 or 3) where the teacher (a published author) will give you feedback on your writing. I also took postgraduate studies in comedy screenwriting and I am using my screenwriting techniques to apply to my storytelling in books.

Third, you might join a writer’s group. Not only will it give you a place to discuss writing with like-minded, professional people, but they have resources online that are fantastic – such as how to format your manuscript for submission to agents or editors, how to write a query letter, and updates on the market.

Here are some very important things to keep in mind (I learned these things through my own experiences):

  • Keep practicing.
  • Guard the writing.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Sometimes a rejection has nothing to do with the submission. It might simply be that an editor doesn’t want that particular plotline or maybe just bought something similar, or their buying budget just shrunk, or that specific editor doesn’t particularly enjoy the genre you’ve submitted.

Finally, make sure you figure out what kind of writing schedule works for you. I’m very focused and dedicated to a regular schedule – because it works for me. It’s Monday to Friday roughly 8 am to 3 pm. I usually read the papers (and my horoscope) online before I get to work. After 3 pm, I’ll usually work on business matters that pertain to writing. I try to keep the weekends free, but if I’m close to a deadline I’ll usually bite into that time, too. I know plenty of other writers who are night owls and write when their young children are asleep. Others find an hour or two in-between another full-time career (that’s how I first started out, too). Anything is possible – it depends how badly you want it.

Once you’ve finished writing a complete manuscript and have polished it to the very best of your abilities, you’ll need to send out query letters (business letters ) to agents or editors to see if they might be interested in reading a sample of your work. Read some articles online on how to write a professional query letter. If you prefer to go the self-published route, it’s still best to have your manuscript reviewed by a professional editor so that your work looks its best.

2 Comments

  1. Lisa Azimi says:

    Hi Kate,
    Thanks very much for all the wonderful writing tips. I met you at your writing workshop in June in Stratford and I have learned a lot about the hard work of writing a novel. I have a question: Do you know the difference between romantic suspense and romantic intrigue? I am unsure as to which one of these my story falls under.

    Thanks for your help!
    Lisa A.
    Mississauga

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kate Bridges says:

      Hi Lisa! I remember meeting you and I hope your romantic suspense is coming along well. Sorry about my delayed response – I’ve been out of town with no access to email. If you’re asking about the difference between Harlequin Intrigue and Harlequin Romantic Suspense, I haven’t written for either of these series, but I have heard that the difference is the ratio of suspense to romance included in each. For example, for Intrigue, the focus is slightly more on the suspense/crime/mystery plot. For Romantic Suspense, the focus is slightly more on the romance plot. If you google something like “difference between Harlequin Intrigue and Harlequin Romantic Suspense” you will likely find some blogs/articles from other authors who have some experience writing for the series. Hope this is helpful for you!

      Like

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