I'm excited to have author Caroline T. Patti guest post today, sharing advice from her path to publication. Her newest novel, INTO THE DARK, is out now. Make sure to enter for a chance to win a copy at the end of the post!
Guest Post: Advice for writers from author Caroline T. Patti
My advice to aspiring writers is: write. Write every day. Every word that touches the page doesn’t have to brilliant; that comes later. It’s also important to read. Get to know your market. Read the good stuff, read the bad stuff, read everything in between. Become familiar with what’s on the shelves, what holes need to be filled, and how you can make a contribution. Write because you love it, and you feel compelled to tell a story, not because you think you’re going to be rich and famous. Socialize as much as you can with other writers. Build a network. Con someone into reading your work, someone you trust will tell you if it sucks, but will say it with love and affection. Make sure you thank that person in your acknowledgements. Lastly, don’t give up. Every no is just one person’s opinion. Eventually, someone might say yes.
So many, many lessons are learned on the way to publishing. The biggest lesson for me is that there is a huge difference between being able to tell a story and crafting a novel. I knew how to tell a story. I had no idea how to craft a novel. I had to learn about perspective, pacing, tension, how to deliver information, how to make sure what was on the page matched what was in my head. I had to learn that in order for a character to sip a drink, they have to pick it up first.
Very often publishing can feel like trying to crack into a secret society. Sometimes it even feels like high school. There are the popular kids, the geniuses and the geeks. I wish I’d known not to worry about all that. If I never meet John Green or sit on a panel with Sarah Dessen, that doesn’t mean I’m not an author. When I first started I felt intimidated by all the greats out there, and I often worried that I would never be as good as them. Now I realize, that’s okay. Every journey is different. Different doesn’t mean less than.
My general process goes a little something like this: First, I meet a character. They introduce themselves to me in snapshots and snippets. Sometimes, I feel like I walk in mid conversation, and I struggle to keep up. I don’t always know everyone’s name, or how they’re all connected. Some characters are shyer than others. Much like in my Italian family, those who are loudest are heard, and those are the characters whose stories I write. Basically this makes me a crazy person with lots of voices in my head. When a character introduces himself/herself to me I start writing things down in a notebook. Once I have enough notes, I start fleshing out scenes. First novels in a series rarely get written in order. In fact, I usually get the ending relatively quickly. No promises that the story always ends up where I imagined, but I’m usually pretty close. When I’m writing I have complete tunnel vision so I can do it pretty much anywhere. For the revision and editing process, I like a quiet place and will usually lock myself away, put on some music and try to remember to eat. Luckily, I have my husband to rescue me from the editing cave.
Twitter changed my life. If not for the connections I’ve made through Twitter I would not be where I am today. It is through Twitter that I first met Georgia McBride, owner of Month9Books. It is also how I met my editors and cover designers for my self-published work. Writing is solitary, but publishing takes a village.
ABOUT INTO THE DARK:
A girl’s sweet sixteen party is supposed to be among the most memorable events of her life. But on the night of hers, Mercy Clare wakes in the waiting room of a hospital with no memory of how she got there. To make matters worse, she’s wearing something she’d never be caught dead in: her best friend Lyla’s clothes.
Mercy’s nightmare is just beginning. The doctor arrives to tell her that it’s she who lies in the hospital bed waiting to die. A trip to the bathroom confirms Mercy’s fears, as Lyla’s face stares back at her and Lyla’s curvy figure pokes through her tight clothes.
But finding out what’s really going on won’t be easy. Because if Mercy wants her body back, it might just cost her Lyla’s life.
ABOUT CAROLINE T. PATTI:
Caroline T Patti is the author of The World Spins Madly On and Too Late To Apologize. When she’s not writing,she’s a school librarian, mother of two, wife, avid reader and Green Bay Packer fan. You can chat with her on Twitter:@carepatti or find her onFacebook.
Giveaway Information: Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Into the Dark by Caroline T. Patti (INT)