Today’s WRITER WEDNESDAY… Jessica Scott
What’s the one thing that remains unchanged during your writing process, from one book to another? (ie: Intensive plotting? Music?)
A: I’m kind of a creature of habit so first drafts are always in Scrivener. Revisions and editing come in Word. And no matter what, I can’t start a book without knowing my characters. At least their names. The rest comes to shape as their storyboard develops.
But through it all, if I’ve got an earworm, it doesn’t matter of what kind of music, I can knock out some serious word count. I think it connects somewhere in my psyche that the music and the words are linked. I almost never write without music.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give a new writer?
A: Learn your craft. By that I mean, don’t just read every craft book out there but learn what it means to you. All books won’t resonate with you but some will. Figure out why those books do. Don’t query too early. Remember that writing must come with passion. Querying too early (trust me on this one) can drain the joy and passion from writing and make you quit. Make sure your book is ready and clean and polished before you even think of that first query. And expect rejection. Lots of it. But rejection doesn’t always mean you suck, nor does it mean you’ll never sell. It just means you haven’t found that one yes.
What’s the one piece of advice you wish was wiped from the minds of writers everywhere?
A: All of the miscellaneous advice out there that takes away your concentration from writing the book. You have to blog. You have to be on Goodreads or Twitter. Allison Brennan consistently tells writers who ask about social networking that it doesn’t matter how many Twitter followers you have or how many Facebook friends you have, if the book sucks or isn’t even written, it doesn’t matter.
So if you’re just starting out, have a basic website that tells who you are so that people can find you, social network if you want to, and otherwise, focus on honing your craft. The single biggest thing you can do for your career is write the best book possible and strive to get better every day. One of the Army leaders I look up to says “Get better every day and never quit.” He was talking about dedication to duty, but it fits for writing life perfectly. If you quit, you’ll never sell and it’s as simple as that.
What’s the one book you think everybody, writer or not, should read?
A: Oh wow. This is a tough one. I’m going to go cook dinner and come back to this. There are so many great books out there to recommend. The book I’d say everyone should read is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know everyone either loves or hates this book and it is not without its controversy, but the frank, candid look at the far extreme of how entertainment has been perverted and what happens when we look for ever increasing thrills to keep ourselves amused. It’s great for writers to read and learn how to make characters that absolutely stick with you from the first word and for non writers, a great story that makes you sit back and think.
(Interested in the Writer Wednesdays? If you’d like to do one, check out this post for info)