Advice about Writing

From the inbox:

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Q1:

I have just finished reading this fabulous book you have written. I only ask advice from you. I am an aspiring writer myself, but being a new mother there hasn’t been much time to really write many stories. I am a big paranormal fiction nut. Just wondering on how to I go about getting published.

A:

Oh, I feel you, girl. New motherhood really took it out of me and my writing practice. My number one piece of advice: Go easy on yourself! Those newborn months are bad enough without you constantly beating up on yourself for not writing. The one big thing I wish I hadn’t done was put such a high writing expectation on maternity leave. I look back and wish I’d used that time to sleep.

My second piece of advice is get some sort of childcare. I’ve read about more than one author who “wrote my first book while rocking my baby on my knees.” All I have to say about that is “show me the pictures!” because I really don’t believe it can’t be done. Invest in your writing practice by getting someone else to look after honeydear(s) while you write. And don’t squander that writing time. Close down everything except for one Google window, so that you don’t get distracted during your precious writing hour(s).

I didn’t start out with a publishing deal. I self-published and Harlequin Kimani scouted me after, like my fifth book. I love being an indie, and I just tell everyone who asks me about it in real life to self-publish and see where that takes you. Hopefully some place awesome that pays for that childcare you need to write.

 

Q2.1:

Dear Ms Taylor,

I really enjoyed your book “Her Russian Billionaire” and it inspired me. It was really well written and I completely enjoyed it, going back to reread it countless times.

I was going to try my hand at writing and then publishing and I was wondering if you had any advice for me? Any sort if advice would be greatly appreciated.

If it helps, I’m into romance novels and I am in the process of finishing a few drafts[.]

 

Q2.2: 

Hello Ms. Taylor,

I have been reading your books and I thoroughly enjoy them!  I started with “The Owner of His Heart” and I swear that I have read that book at least eight times.  I have made my way through “The Wild One” “Her Russian Billionaire” and I just finished “His One and Only” and [I’m] about to start “Her Perfect Gift.”  I have read a ton of romance and I just love the way you intertwine your characters, it is genius!  

 I am actually aspiring to write romance myself and have started on a story.  As a seasoned and excellent romance author, [what] advice would you offer on trying to get into the business?

 

A:

Thank you both so much for reading my books and for these questions. Friendly reminder to LW 2.2: I’ve only been on the scene since Dec. 2011–I’m not even three years old yet!

My biggest piece of advice to aspiring writers is not to aspire. Quit aspiring. Be what you want to be. I mean take active steps toward making your dreams happen. Like if you want to write, put your butt in a chair, outline a story, and write it. And then just work the steps. Here are mine: I outline. I write my rough draft. Then I rewrite it. Then I rewrite it again. Then I send it to my copyeditor. One more rewrite. I publish it–usually on a Friday. Then I’m on to the next project, divorcing myself from the outcome of the last one. Nothing has helped my career more than writing tons. Nothing.

The other thing to do (which both askees are smartly already doing) is read a lot . Like a lot-a lot. Like when you’re not writing, or spending quality time with your loved ones, or working for money, you should be reading–not watching TV or browsing blogs or shopping or daydreaming about becoming a writer–reading. All the time. One of the reasons I’m so big into football, is because I can easily read during the games. My husband lets me know when I should pay attention, I look up for the play, then I go back to my book. Win-win!

 

Thanks again for all the questions. And if you have any questions you’d like to see me answer on this blog, put them in the comments!

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2 Comments

  1. J.
    Mar 5, 2014

    Hi Theodora!

    First let me say that “Her Viking Wolf” is my absolute favorite paranormal romance novel.

    Second, as an unpublished writer, my question to you is what types of editors do you use?

    I recently sent my manuscript to an editor for a sample edit and it came back to me hemorrhaging profusely and barely recognizable. The editor complimented me on my writing (going so far as to say I didn’t need a copy editor), but did extensive edits on the content, changing things that, in my opinion, trivialized the heroine and her motives. The changes seemed more stylistic than a correction of issues with things such as characterization and consistency.

    In publishing my work, I want to give the reader a quality story worth the cost of admission. But it still has to be my story, not what the publishing world touts as good and marketable. I’ve gotten good feedback on my abilities as a storyteller. And I’m convicted enough in my writing to tell the story as I see it and accept whatever reader response it garners. I’ve all but decided to just use a proofreader and let the readers decide if the content is worth their time and money.

    However, I would like the opinion of an experienced, successful author before forgoing content editing and taking the plunge. So, in your experience, beyond making sure the hero’s hair isn’t blonde in one chapter and black in another, is content editing something you would suggest for a writer who is more concerned with writing remaining something she loves rather then being loved? And what sorts of manuscript review have you found most helpful? I’d also appreciate any referrals to insightful proofreaders you might have.

    Thanks for the above advice and any other tips you have to offer.

    • Theodora Taylor
      Mar 6, 2014

      Thank you so much for reading and loving VIKING WOLF. This is a great question. I only use an copy editor because I’m pretty story confident. If you’re a voracious reader, I think you carry within you a good gut instinct for what other readers will enjoy. Go with your gut.

      Sometimes I get in trouble for my gut choices–but I can’t tell you how often someone will email saying that they loved all my books except X, and then someone else emails me saying X was their favorite book, but they wish I would lay off the paranormals. So you’ve got to write for your own inner fan, because your outside fans will be wonderfully confusing. That said, it’s important to find an editor you’re comfortable with. It’s like dating. If one editor turns you off, don’t be afraid to move on to another one. There are plenty of editors in the sea!

      Thank you and good luck!

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