Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Three Ways to Improve Your Writing

By Jodi Meadows, @jodimeadows

Part of the How They Do It Series

There's a lot of advice that goes along with writing (this site alone is proof of that), but sometimes the simplest advice is what a writer needs to take the next step. YA author Jodi Meadows is here today to share some of that simple, yet valuable, wisdom.

Jodi lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, their cat, Kippy, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen).

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Take it away Jodi...

One of the most common questions I get is "what advice do you have for new writers?" There are three steps to my usual advice:

1. Write a lot.

2. Read a lot.

3. Critique (give and receive).

1. Writing is one of those things you learn by doing. 

The more you write, the better you will become. And I always say write a lot because chances are, the first things you write will be...not great. Maybe not terrible, but likely not publishing quality. But the more you write and learn, the better you will become.

A lot of writers I know talk about writing for ten years before they get published! Or writing a million words of crap (they use a stronger word) before they really start writing good stuff.

2. Of course, most of us get into writing because we love to read.  

But what should you read? And how much? Well, I think you should read everything you can get your hands on. The more widely read you are, the more creative you're likely to be. Read everything in your genre and out of it! Read bestsellers and award winners! Read the books that call out to you on a soul level.

3. And, of course, think critically.  

Give your manuscript to people you trust and ask them to tell you what they think. Find other writers and trade manuscripts with them. And learn to give criticism. But don't stop there: figure out what your critique partners are doing right, as well as what they can improve on.

In fact, do that for everything you read. Figure out what's working right, what isn't working for you, and what makes other people like it, too.

About The Orphan Queen

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

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