Advice from Oleg Medvedkov
2. Write everything as if you’d never have to edit it. This is called “writing in the last draft.” It will slow you down in the beginning, but it will improve your writing considerably by establishing good writing habits from the start. No short hand, no “I’ll edit it later.” Learn how to produce good, readable copy at a first attempt. Doesn’t mean you won’t have to edit it, no. But it will save you a lot of time and effort down the road.
3. Learn how to “un-love” your own writing. I understand that what you wrote is dear to you. Perhaps so dear that you will hurt if you have to delete or change something if needed. Well, tough. Get rid of that feeling, you’ll be a better writer for it.
4. The last bit of advice is probably the most important: Writing is 10% self-expression, and 90% presentation. I know you want to express what you feel and put in on paper. So, don’t do that. If you do, it will be a mess. The only person who’ll like it will be you. And perhaps your dog, but that’s not a guarantee.
To avoid that:
A. Learn the craft of writing; it’s very easy.
B. Always keep in mind your readers, you know, the people for whom you are writing? Ask yourself questions: Is it easy to read? Is what I said clear and connected in a logical and meaningful way? Is there too much description and not enough dialog and action to keep my reader interested? Are my paragraphs short enough so that the reader will not fall asleep while reading? Are my sentences easy to understand? And so on…
5. Oh yeah, while you are in college anyway, go sign up for an Internet marketing class. Your books don’t have to be great literary masterpieces in order to sell--at any given time, 90% of all the bestsellers on the market are averagely written at best. You just need to know how to turn out a competent copy and how to sell your books. That, and some luck.
Well, cheers and good luck!
Advice from Sameer Ketkar:
That’s why they are called rough or first drafts. Yes, when you finish a draft, you will be full of excitement and you’ll be thinking, “I rock; this is the most amazing thing ever.”
That’s your ego talking. Put your ego aside and look at how you can improve that draft. And the reason that you must get to the end of a draft before improving it is because you can’t improve a draft if the draft does not exist to be improved upon!
I have friends who tell me how they’ve been reworking/rethinking their story or script for years…and the result is that they haven’t written anything yet. If they had written a draft, then they could have revised that draft, then revised the second draft, then revised the third one.
But because they have written nothing, there is nothing to revise. Revision is a
necessary step in the writing process. Accept it and embrace it. Don’t be afraid of revisions.
People do not make comments about your story with the intention of hurting your feelings. People make comments about your stories because that is how they feel about them. People make comments about your stories because they feel your stories can be improved with those comments. No story is perfect. Embrace the fact that your story is not perfect and that change will only improve it -- change and a lot of time to think. Then: Do it! The more drafts the merrier!
Advice from Uvi Poznansky
Are they holding their breath at the right moment?
Do they burst out laughing, or wipe a tear when you intended?
If not, you must go back to the drawing board and adjust your sentences.
Advice from Vardan Partamyan
and what you would never like to experience, make it personal, make it passionate, make it real even if it is unreal.
Write without looking back or thinking about the reception your work may receive for there will always be people who like your work and, inevitably, those who do not like it - it is all part of the process, part of life - if everyone likes you and what you do, then you are taking too many compromises and doing something wrong.
The human civilization, the entire road the humanity has passed since the beginning of times is a compilation of a myriad stories that were woven together to give us the understanding of the world as we know it. Our lives and minds are filled with stories, our imagination full of blockbuster tales that are trying to find their way out.
You are the gatekeeper, you are the creator, you are the one who can reach out and release these tales - no one can tell them better than you for they are your stories so look inside you, find the tale that is the most impatient to get out, turn on your computer, open a word processing document and let the journey begin!
More advice from Sameer Ketkar:
What does that mean?
If you’re a mechanic, use your knowledge of mechanics in your writing. If you’re a doctor, use your knowledge of medicine in your writing. If you’re a salesman, use your knowledge of retail in your writing.
When you try and make up something you have never done before, it often shows; the reader can often tell that “this person has no idea what they’re talking about.”
Now, you’re probably thinking: “How can you ‘write what you know’ if one wishes to write epic fantasy, or science fiction?”
There is a simple hack for that. Make the characters believable, likeable and as realistic
as possible -- and let the characters explore that universe with you. Start small, like with Harry Potter, and let your character slowly come to realize the
wide world they are in. What great fantasy writers like JRR Tolkien do is that
they create massive worlds that are so real to them that they do “know” things
about those worlds; they know the politics of Elves and Dwarves and Orcs, etc.
If you build a world that is real and realistic enough, it will feel that way to
I once heard that a writer shouldn’t let the rules of grammar stop good writing. That knowledge freed me in my writing. At the same time, one has to know the rules before you can break them.
If I had my life to do over again, I’d spend more time in English classrooms and creative writing courses.
But along the way, I came to realize that writing is the most powerful communication tool we have. No matter what you write, everything you have ever done, seen, learned or thought finds a place in the story, if not directly, then between the lines – it happens organically, and when you begin to recognize those bits, you experience real magic.
Advice from Damian Stevenson
improve and that keeps you going.
I used to write screenplays. For years I watched movies, then I read scripts in my spare time. I learned a lot more from reading scripts.
Now I write books, so I read books. Sometimes one a day. Usually, a few each week, and I take notes as I read. If I see a new word or a clever turn of phrase, I write it down. The point is to learn, not just to say you’ve read something.
Don’t be afraid to write something awful.
It takes years to get good.
Don’t rewrite the same bad idea endlessly. Take what you learn and put it in the next thing you write. Time passes quickly, and before you know it, you are halfway decent.
Don’t stop to perfect sentences, just keep moving forward. Write in shorthand, write in notes, use boring adjectives, it doesn’t matter just write as fast you can, as if the devil were at your back. Fix and improve later. The less you pause, the better your core story will be.
When you get to the end, go back and start over. Keep doing this as many times as you can. To some extent, a writer’s ‘talent’ is nothing more than his or her ability to repeat the rewrite process more times than most.
Then, when at long last you are finished, put it aside for a good amount of time. When you have forgotten about it, open it up and look at it in the cold light of day and see if there’s anything you want to change. Print it out and read it on paper. Read it on a laptop, on a desk-top. Read it on your phone. Read it aloud. When you can’t stand to look at it anymore, show it to someone you trust, listen to what they have to say and
Remember, wait until you think it is complete perfection before you ask for input. Consider showing a second person. When you have finished with receiving input, give it one last read and maybe then, at last, you are finished. They say a work of art is never finished, it is abandoned.
I learned a lot from my time in Hollywood (I used to work for DreamWorks).
The biggest lesson was the value of a good idea. With a good idea – a story that can be described in a few words and is inherently interesting – a lot of the hard work is done for you. So spend time thinking before you start writing. Ask a lot of questions of your concept and make sure it stands up to interrogation. Is it a compelling idea? Is it different enough to intrigue a reader? Does it have the potential for big emotion, conflict, humor and all the other points a good narrative must hit?
Focus on quantity, not quality. You learn the most when you finish something. Quality will come later. Be patient and tell yourself that it takes a long time to get good at anything.
Writing is like a lot of things. You will probably get out of it what you put into it. But one thing is true: the competition is stiff. The whole world thinks they can write and many of them put pen to paper. The pros keep writing no matter what, day in, day out. Don’t expect to love every minute of it. If you love it all the time, you probably aren’t working hard enough. I don’t trust a writer who says it isn’t work.