40

I would say go for it! If you have the possibility of contacting a "proper author," there's no reason not to. If they get back to you or someone from their office does, that would be a huge help to you. And no offense, but if they don't get back to you, they probably won't remember you either so there's nothing to be embarrassed about. There's ...


39

Your first publication will get harsh criticism whether you're 12, 21, or 120. The fact is, the only way to get good at something is to practice, and the only way to practice is to fail, repeatedly, until you start to do good. Starting early is not only helpful but encouraged - you will get significantly more experience this way than if, say, you were to ...


38

Write it. Even if it's just for you. I think this is an incredibly important and valuable question, because I hear it all the time from many of my friends. They aren't writers or authors, and they have limited professional training or experience in writing, but they have a book in them that is screaming to get out, and they need to put it on paper and bring ...


21

"Assume that you have a million words inside you that are absolute rubbish and you need to get them out before you get to the good ones." That's a Neil Gaiman quote, but many other authors have voiced similar ideas. The only way to become a good writer is to write. In other words, the first book you write is going to be garbage*. But that doesn't ...


16

This is not only done, but is a staple of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire - all books' prologues and epilogues have a one-time POV character that dies by the end of it. So yeah, it's perfectly acceptable.


16

When this question is asked, many companies specifically exclude self-publishing or require a certain number of copies sold to count. Typically the intent is to find out if you are a proven quantity with a track record. 80 copies with no promotion isn't nothing, but it's not the kind of numbers a publisher will be looking for. So I think it likely comes ...


14

Engage in online creative writing/fanfiction forums, with your parents' supervision. If you want to start writing, be aware that the first things you start writing will likely be really bad. This isn't because of your age, but because you're new to writing - it's been said that the first million words anyone writes will be garbage, so if writing is a skill ...


12

I've got nothing on shadowing (I suspect that's a very hard sell), but for asking questions, there are two (non-exclusive) approaches that I've seen and occasionally been part of (on both sides). The first is to start with your own circle of friends. I'm not a radiologist, lawyer, chef, schoolteacher, psychologist, soldier, horticulturist, priest, or a ...


11

A This answer has been given multiple times before on this site, and it was consistently met with reservation and disbelief. Yet it is what I have learned from published authors: First novels are consistently rejected because they lack quality. Writing is something that you have to learn. And it is something that you learn through practice, that is, by ...


10

Go to a local university and speak with a writer in residence or a professor who is well-respected. Take creative writing courses and listen to the feedback. Join a writers group - but remember, being told that your work is far from perfect is the point. Poetry is such an intensely personal and universal form that you must just keep writing. Listen to ...


10

I do not know the source of that claim you heard, but I think you're taking it too literally. Generally, most authors just use their name. There's nothing about the name "J.R.R. Tolkien" or "Terry Pratchett" or "Ursula Le Guin" that's particularly related to speculative fiction, except after the fact - those names are related to the genre because that's what ...


9

I have two previous answers that will help you, Here, on the Three Act Structure and Here, on Getting the first 50 pages or so started. These are geared to discovery writers, like me, but if you already have a plot to follow, they can help you anyway. The biggest mistake I see beginners make is they want to jump in too early on the "action" or the "big ...


9

@MatthewDave suggests asking yourself what your story is about. I would go farther: ask yourself what is the meaning of your story, what it is you're trying to say. If you're saying nothing at all, then no, your story doesn't have much depth. And at this point, it's too late to change that - you'd have to start from scratch. "What you're trying to say" is ...


9

Angst has no Age: Youth is filled with self-doubt, criticism, challenges and lack of experience. Guess what? Age is filled with self-doubt, responsibility and inertia. I've ALWAYS wanted to be an author, but the first stories I wrote were REALLY awful, and I let myself be convinced I didn't have a useful contribution to make. Only I couldn't stop wanting to ...


8

I don't buy any of the "ask an expert" notions either; although here on StackExchange you may find some experts in certain fields, I've been impressed with a few here on Writing, and others on WorldBuilding, in Politics, Law, Astronomy, Finance, etc. This is a friendly forum for asking naive questions (if you do a light search for duplicates first). The ...


8

If you think it would be a cheap trick, then don't do it. But it is an already somewhat estabilished tecnique - there are tons of books where the prologue has a different PoV from that of the main characters (I can recall a few at the moment: Perdido street station from Mieville, Eragon from Paolini, Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Weis and Hickman ... ). ...


8

This is a great question with a simple answer: Write to learn* *Read when you're not writing. Learn from authors and stories you love. But...what should you write? Also a simple answer: Write what you want to write. If you want to write about this story you feel driven to write - do it! The advice that "your first few stories will suck" is only ...


8

The quote is not about writers. It's about self-important people. This was my immediate thought, and then I watched the video where indeed Hitchens says it in the context of memoirs. There is a phrase that embodies such self-important people—"everyone is entitled to my opinion." Your humility is clear from your question. I don't think you're one of ...


7

A few hours? Why, that's a good amount of time. If you sit down and write for them, you will be able to write a lot of works. Some things that may help are having a set scheduled time in which you must write -- or sit at your writing desk and do nothing -- or having a minimum daily quota, which should be longer than the amount of writing it takes you to ...


7

"especially people I want to impress" If you're doing it because authors get all the hot <insert cute term for gender/orientation here> then you're probably SOL. If you're doing it because you feel driven to do it, then get started, and learn by doing. People who appreciate what you do will be impressed by results, not by talking about it. ...


5

I have a story that I wish to write. I like my story and genuinely believe it to be interesting. My issue is that I have never really written anything before. When I have read advice in the past, I have often been told that your first few stories will suck and that you will have to move on to something new. Other people say the same thing. They have a story....


5

Terry's answer aligns with my knowledge, but here's a little more I'd add that is relevant to your question. Writers I know who have been agented are asked to revise their manuscripts before the manuscript is sent to publishing houses. I believe it was GGX or Galastel that explained: At the query stage you are competing largely with un-agented writers. At ...


5

The only way to become a better writer is to write. Yes, you can take classes and read and study, and those things will help, but only if you do them in conjunction with writing. What should you write? The idea you're most passionate about. You're worried about "wasting" your idea, but that's not possible. For one, you may not be passionate about it ...


5

There are many places to get good feedback for your work. You said you wanted a professional to look over your work and in that case, if you plan on publishing, I would suggest hiring an editor. But you can go to a community of good writers such as silver pen writers or scribophile. However, I would like to point out that you also need to get feedback from ...


5

What I do is get to know my characters well, my MC in particular, create a situation and see what happens. I write what occurs. If you have all of the elements in your story ready, but that blank page is looking back at you, just pretend you are telling your story to a friend. Write what happens and see if it works for you. We each have our own process, ...


5

It's about marketing. From a purely logical standpoint, you are already a published author, since you did publish a book and you did sell some copies, no matter how few. So, in theory you have your answer. Yet, some publishing companies may look down on you. Self-publishing has not a great reputation among traditional companies; so telling everyone that ...


5

One doesn't "decide" to be a plotter or a discovery-writer ("pantser" is not considered a polite term in writing circles). One is one or the other, or somewhere on the scale between the two. Some writers cannot write unless they've planned everything ahead and know where they're going. Some plan main events, others go so far as to plan the whole story scene ...


5

Find a method or structure to help you get started. I used the Snowflake Method https://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/ but there are others. I was in a similar position to you last year (except for the retirement bit). I had an idea that had been swimming around in my head for years, but I didn’t know if I even wanted to write it ...


5

This is a great question! I can relate because I am also a young author (I'm not gonna say my exact age but I'm younger than eighteen). My advice to you is to not listen to what other people say, because if you do all you're going to think about when you sit down to write is what you can't do instead of what you can. subscribe to get emails from ...


5

When I was about 12, I also found out what I want to become: a programmer. I enjoyed working with computers, writing programs and decided early on that this is something I want to do professionally later on. This has given me a somewhat clear education path and all in all, I'm very glad to have had the fortune of knowing where I want to go early on; it gave ...


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