Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Guest Post: Ally Malinenko

I have a treat for you guys today! A guest post from Ally Malinenko! She's going to impart some wisdom and advice for those struggling writers out there!

Hope you enjoy the post and feel free to leave us some of your favorite writing advice in the comments! And THANK YOU to Ally for stopping by today!

Top Five Pieces of Advice for 
Aspiring Writers
(Not from me)

That’s a weird title. I mean what constitutes “aspiring” and not. As soon as you write something are you no longer aspiring? Or is it publication? Does that mean you are officially a writer? Which came first the chicken or the egg? Here’s what I think  - all writers are still aspiring because becoming better at what you love to do makes for a full life….(“full” mind you, not necessarily happy).

So here are my top five bits of writing advice from some really great writers all of whom have written YA or MG books cause that’s what I write. And because I needed some sort of format otherwise this would go on for days. 

5. Garret Freyman-Weir – Author of My Heartbeat, Stay With Me, When I was Older and The Kings are Already Here. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Read. Really, I cannot begin to describe all the times I’ve met people who tell me that they would love to write, if only they could find the time (as if writing were a hobby, although given the quality of much of what is published, I sometimes think it is!), but if I talk to them at length it quickly becomes clear they do not read. That’s like wanting to run a marathon, but not wanting to run. Reading is the only way to learn how to write. It can’t be taught, exactly. It has to be absorbed.

4. Rebecca Stead – Author of When You Reach Me and Liar and Spy

What tips or advice can you share with young students who hope to start writing?

First: Read. It’s been said over and over, but reading is the most important thing an aspiring writer can do. Read what you love. Read something you think you won’t like at all. Experiment with your reading, but don’t stop reading.

Second: Don’t be discouraged by your first draft. For many writers, the first draft is a pretty terrible translation of what might be a terrific idea. Don’t stop and think, “this is awful.” It doesn’t help. Revision is just as much a part of the job as the first draft. If you aren’t willing to revise, you can’t be a writer.

3. Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) – Author of The Series of Unfortunate Events, When We Broke Up and All The Wrong Questions Series.

What’s the greatest or most memorable piece of advice on writing that you have ever received?

“Read everything out loud.”

2. Laini Taylor – Author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight

“Be an unstoppable force. Write with an imaginary machete strapped to your thigh. This is not wishy-washy, polite, drinking-tea-with-your-pinkie-sticking-out stuff. It’s who you want to be, your most powerful self. Write your books. Finish them, then make them better. Find the way. No one will make this dream come true for you but you.”

1.Neil Gaiman – Author of (tons of other stuff but also) Coraline, The Sandman Series, The Graveyard Book

Be wise
Make amazing mistakes
Break rules
Leave the world a more interesting place, and
Make good art

And he said it all quite well here in a now pretty famous commencement speech. 

So there you guy. Easy right? Read. Write. Believe. Don’t give up. Read more. Write more. Believe more. Don’t give up more. 

I don’t think there’s much that I could add to this. I mean, let’s be honest – these are all big fish writers and I’m a bottom feeder – happily and joyfully – but still a bottom feeder. But I will say this: 
When you do start writing don’t give up. Just write. Keep writing. When it’s good keep writing. When it’s bad keep writing. When someone tells you it’s terrible and you should stop, keep writing. When someone tells you it’s perfect don’t change it, keep writing. You know in your heart what you are striving for. One day you’ll wake up and you’ll have found your voice. But it takes work. Be ready to do the work.

Ally Malinenko is the author of Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb

Find out more about Ally Malinenko!

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