Following the previous post in this vein, 10 Commandments For Successful Writers by the lovely Emma Pullar, Derin Attwood decided to throw her hat in the ring and lay down the law for Write Club, too! I totally agree with numbers 2, 7 and the last one … Well, all of them to be honest.
Over to you, Derin — And enjoy, everyone!
Otherwise you are not part of the Write Club. You can join the thinkers’, or dreamers’ or wannabes’ clubs, but the writers’ club is exclusive.
2) Set goals
Write regularly and set goals. Keep to a schedule and make sure you have a strategy, which you evaluate at various intervals.
3) Sweat the small stuff
Learn the difference between ‘their’, ‘they’re’ and ‘there’. And while you are at it, ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ are not interchangeable! And ‘irregardless’ is not a word! I don’t care if a lot of people use it. They shouldn’t!
4) Be gracious
Accept mistakes when they are pointed out, but don’t beat yourself up over them. Even the best make them, even with the support of publishers, editors, agents and filmmakers. Likewise, don’t berate other writers when you spot their mistakes. They’ve probably been told a thousand times.
5) Take “No” for an answer
Don’t expect another writer to read/edit/critique your work in progress. You can ask – with an offer of a large amount of money – but don’t be miffed if they say “No.” MORE: Top 5 Feedback Mistakes Writers Make
6) Accept constructive criticism
If you are lucky enough to have someone kindly read your work, accept that they may be brutal. They will tell you your baby is ugly, but you must smile nicely and accept it. You don’t have to agree, but they are probably right. So, after you have crawled into bed and cried for three days, drag yourself out, and rewrite the whole thing, taking the advice seriously. You will thank them eventually. They’ve done you a favour.
7) Listen to your instincts
If it feels wrong, it is wrong! Even if it is your favourite scene in the whole thing. Every writer has those amazing pieces that lie sadly – although not forgotten – in a reject document of your computer. As well as it is written, it should NEVER see the light of day if it doesn’t take your story forwards.
8) Be consistent
Be sure of your facts before you spout off to everyone. If you create a rule in your written piece, DON’T break it. Don’t make anything unbelievable.
9) Write fast
If you think someone has stolen your plot, they probably haven’t. However, even if they start at the same place you did, the ends will be markedly different. Write fast, finish yours first and publish. Then if someone points out the similarity, you can point to your publishing date as proof of your innocence.
10) Be consistent # 2
Keep the promises you make to your readers. If, near the beginning of your story, you mention something special or relevant, make sure you follow through and pay it off. For this reason, you should read everything you’ve written through.
11) Buy books and watch movies/TV!
Not just those written by famous authors and screenwriters, but also your peers. If you know a writer to talk to, buy their stuff. They may just buy yours too — and that could be the beginning of something beautiful!
BIO: Derin Attwood is a novelist with dyslexia, but she doesn’t let that stop her. She runs a small critiquing group for other writers.
Twice nominated for the SJV Award, short-listed once, and five fantasy novels published, you can read about Kirym’s adventures in the Token Bearer series HERE.