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Writing Advice (Not Mine)

"Ignore your outline for a while. Just sit down and listen to what your character has to say. Let him talk. You might be surprised by the story he tells." - Dani (friend, coworker, avid reader, best person to throw midnight premier parties)

At the time, this didn't seem like great advice. I'd just written a lovely outline. I was totally ready to pound it out, point by point, and have a finished draft by the end of summer. I was doing it, too. Except that the story seemed soulless, and I didn't know why. So, over a glass of wine, while I was literally banging my head against the kitchen table, Dani gave me this advice. And you know what? It worked. I didn't ditch my outline, but I stopped trying to tell my MC what to say, how to say it. I stopped trying to make him the character he should be and let him be the character he wanted to be.


"You're not doing it right unless it hurts like hell." - Amy Lukavics (fellow writer, friend, general badass)

This advice came during the throes of a very emotional scene - a scene which was, in part, based on my own experience. I didn't want to write it. I didn't know how to write it. So I threw my hands up and said to Amy, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DOOOOOO." This was her immediate response.


"You never know what kind of book will reach someone." - Brenna (sister, friend, reader of fantasy and rom-com and dystopia and pretty much everything, because she's awesome)

My sister and I were eating Japanese food and talking about Smart Things - because we were both college students and that's what college students talk about. I made a semi-catty comment about books in which the author clearly didn't craft the story or the prose, and how literary novels are just sooo much better - (and yeah I don't even know I was being an ass that day.)

My sister very calmly looked at me and said, "I read those books. I like those books. They got me through high school. I learned a lot about life from those stories." And then, BAM, she hit me with, "You never know what kind of book will reach someone."

And she was right.

What writing advice have you received recently?

Kristin Briana Otts

Kristin is an aspiring YA author with an abiding love for her dog, ghost hunter tv shows, and rainy days.

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  1. This is all great advice and your sister is brilliant!

  2. I think this applies nicely to the writer's life. :)
    "You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just, literally 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it." -Matt Damon (We Bought a Zoo)

  3. Love this. You're so lucky to have such wise people in your life :)

  4. Good advice. The best I've heard recently is "sit down, shut up, and put your fingers on the keys already."

  5. All of this is fantastic advice! May all writers be surrounded by such wise people.


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Item Reviewed: Writing Advice (Not Mine) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kristin Briana Otts