Listening to Advice

I want to share an article from Goodreads; it’s an interview with self-published author Intisar Khanani. Here’s the link to the article: Link

Now, I haven’t read Thorn, her book, but I wanted to point out some very sound advice from Khanani. The first is, “I figured if I wanted to be a writer, I needed to just go ahead and do that.”

She wanted to be a writer and she wanted to write a novel. So she did. Yeah, I know, it sounds like a daunting task. But – if you want to do something bad enough, you’ll make room between classes, homework, work, and sleep.

The second is, “I chose a fairytale retelling of Grimm’s The Goose Girl as a way to have a tried-and-true plot to build off of, figuring it couldn’t be that hard to get it right. “

She did something that I think all beginning novelists should do: choose a plot that they know, that they love, and then spin their own story within that pre-made mold. No, it’s not the most original thing to do, but it is a great place to start. It gets you into the brain of an novel, into how things flow together, into how to string characters into a plot and make it readable. It helps you finish that first novel – that first hurtle.

The third is a two-parter: “Over the course of that school year, the same year as 9/11, I began to struggle with so much more as well: issues of justice and mercy, questions of compassion. Much of that also came into my novel, and continued to influence it over the course of a dozen drafts or so over the next ten years.” 

Part 1 – She used her feelings, her emotions, her surroundings to build an emotional backbone in the story. She took in things from her own life, her thoughts of them, and then used those.

Part 2 – She revised and drafted a LOT, ten years’ worth of drafting. She didn’t pump out the first draft and send it off to agents. She drafted and drafted and drafted. This is a mistake I see a lot in self-published titles. Authors push out their books way before they are ready to be published – I know, I made the same mistake with Devil’s Blood 1.

*Writing a novel is hard. Writing a GOOD novel is really hard.

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