After such great enthusiasm over my post: My 10 rules of writing I decided to see if any of our authors had writing rules they live by. Rita Monette, the middle-grade author of The Legend of Ghost Dog Island and The Curse at Pirate’s Cove was very quick to respond, so I figure she knows what she’s talking about! Here’s what this pro-writer has to say:
Seriously? There are rules? Okay, here are mine…
- Learn your craft. This is #1 for a reason. Take classes, go to conferences and writing workshops, talk to other authors, read books on writing. For proof, go back and read something you wrote before you learned all this great stuff. If you don’t see a major difference, you’ve been a genius all along!
- Write every day. Hard, I know… but when you do, the ideas and words will flowing from your fingers like magic. No Harry Potter pun intended.
- Try to write your first draft to the end without revising. This one is the hardest for me. When I go in to write, I have to read what I’ve previously written in order to get into the flow, and to remember what I’ve already said so I don’t repeat myself. Is that redundant? But then again, I’m getting old. But, seriously…revising at this stage will surely slow down the writing process. Get it on paper, then go back and fix it. See #4.
- Revise, revise, revise, then revise again. As you read through your story, especially out loud, if something doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’ Look for places where you are getting bored and want to skip ahead, or where you have to read a sentence or scene over again to understand what’s going on. You’ll know when you’re done revising, when you can say…”Damn! That’s good right there, I don’t care who wrote it.”
- Read award-winning books in your chosen genre…not to learn great stuff to write about, but to learn how to write you own stuff great.
- Join critique groups, or pal up with other writers with whom you can share honest feedback. Friends and relatives might love your work, but they may not know how to push you to create a work of art.
- Find an editor…or a friend that is obsessive-compulsive about spelling and grammar. It’s hard to find those pesky problems in your own writing, because when you know what you were trying to say, you read right over mistakes. Never submit, or self publish, your work with bad grammar (unless that’s the way your character speaks!). It is a reflection on you as a writer. A typo or mistake may slop through the cracks, but don’t settle for it.
- Forget writer’s block. I’ve had periods where I didn’t seem to be able to create. But it is usually because I am involved in other things or people that distract or depress me. I am also an artist, and have experienced the same problem there. I don’t call it artist’s block!
- Find or create a place that promotes creativity. Maybe it means listening to music, or total quiet without distractions. Maybe it’s peaceful scenery, a picture on your wall, a cat on your lap, or the TV in the background. Everyone is different in what invites their muse to join them. Find yours.
- People watch. Pay attention to accents, mannerisms, facial expressions, etc. Give these to your characters, and picture their faces and gestures as you write. Characters drive your stories. Bring them to life.
There you have it! Rita Monette’s recipe for success! Keep an eye out for news about book three in the Nikki Landry Swamp Legends Series, The Secret in Mossy Swamp, coming soon from Mirror World Publishing!
Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. She loves to write stories set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state.
Her middle grade series, The Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, is based on tales told by her father—who made his living in those bayous—of reasons to stay out of the swamp.
She currently lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee. Besides writing and illustrating, she loves watching the many birds that make their habitat on the Cumberland Plateau, working in the garden, and frequenting waterfalls.
To learn more about Rita Monette, visit her blog here: http://ritamonette.blogspot.ca/
You can also find her books in our bookstore!