Going to the SCBWI Hawaii Chapter Conference was well-worth the Benjamin this weekend. I learned a ton about fiction-a topic I rarely write about. It was an eye-opening experience teaching me all the mistakes I’m making and probably will make in my fiction future. I thought I’d save you the expense by sharing all the secrets I learned this weekend. So close your wallets and pull up your laptop. It’s going to get good right now.
1) Showing off.
It’s tempting to be like a peacock and show off your feathers. But puffing up your ego with superfluous verbiage may make for pretty prose or witty wording, but if you don’t have a good story, forget about it. You’ll lose your audience.
2) Not reading enough.
I’m guilty of this. Not that I don’t read. In fact, I’m a readaholic. But when it comes to fiction especially kid’s fiction? Yikes. I need to jump on it. The thing is, you can’t write a good piece of work, if you aren’t familiar with what’s out there. So thank you Matt de La Pena for reminding me of the obvious. Great writer = great reader
3) Rushing it.
You want to finish it. You want to see it in print. But rushing the process makes for hurried, chaotic and unintentionally messy writing. Take your time to enjoy the scene you’re currently in.
4) Writing shallow.
Nancy Galt literary agent Marietta Zacker says all good stories have one thing in common. They all have a distinct voice that comes their emotional truth. What is your emotional truth and how has it directed your life and the life of your current work-in-progress?
5) Hitting send prematurely.
I’ve done this one before. But Zacker reminds me that you should only send in your submission when you can imagine the editor and agent on the receiving end. If you would feel proud of what you’re submitting, it’s ready. If not? Step away from the computer!
6) Gabbing more than writing.
Writer groups are beneficial for a lot of reasons. But you need to be clear about why you’re spending time together with other writers. Make sure the time you’re spending is helping, not hurting your ability to complete your work.
That’s the 6 golden rules I learned this weekend. I’ve got a few more nuggets I’ll share later this week. So grateful for both Zacker and de la Pena’s words of wisdom and the writing community for motivating me to get hopping on my fiction WIP.
P.S. Have any fiction tips I haven’t included here? Please share.