Hi Catherine! Thank you for inviting me on your blog today. During my journey to publication, I attended a lot of writing conferences, entered writing contests, and joined three different writing organizations. Here are five tips I learned along the way:
1. Establish a Writing Routine
Write every day. Raspy voiced, tough talking Romance and Suspense superstar Nora Roberts tells authors to put their butts (Actually Nora uses another word. Did I mention she’s tough talking?) in the chair and write. Don’t wait for the muse. Write something. Anything. Nora’s motto: “I can fix a bad page. But I can’t fix a blank one.”
When your manuscript is finished, don’t look at it (or send it to a publisher or editor) for at least three days. Wait a week if you can. Then reread it. Errors will leap out at you. Fix them. Do a word search for “ly” and see if your adverbs are propping up weak verbs. Root out all gerunds (words ending in “ing”). Where possible, change the verb tense to tighten your writing.
Writers often overuse pet phrases or words. (Guilty, but working on it.) Reading books by other authors can inspire, inform, and help break you out of your default phrases.
4. Utilize Beta Readers
Choose people you trust will give you their honest opinion. (My daughter is my beta reader. Like Nora Roberts, she doesn’t hold back. When my daughter read Spell For Sophia, Book 4, the Teen Wytche Saga, she expressed in strong terms her shock over a dark plot twist.)
I know. It is hard to put on your big girl pants and leave your writing cave. Many writers are introverts. But joining a writing organization such as Romance Writers of America or the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators can improve your writing craft, offer invaluable networking, and give you important insider information. Further, writing organizations hold conferences and writing contests that offer terrific opportunities to improve your skills and get your manuscript in front of editors and agents.
These days, there are many paths to publication. The above tips will help you get your manuscript in top shape. Any questions? You can always reach me through my website, AriellaMoon.com.
About Author Ariella Moon
Ariella Moon is a shaman and the author of the Teen Wytche Saga, a series of sweet Young Adult paranormal romances. She writes about magic, friendship, time travel, high school, secrets, and love in Spell Check, Spell Struck, Spell Fire, and Spell For Sophia from Clean Reads / Astraea Press.