Monday, February 28, 2011

Best and Worst Advice - LTUE Report, Part II

This is a continuation of last Monday's post.

The panel was asked the question: "Who helped you as a writer or in your journey to publish and how did they help you?"

Mette Ivie Harrison said that writer Rick Walton helped her tremendously. He has a website ( that you can check out. He works in the childrens book industry, helping network authors and publishers. He happens to be her brother-in-law. Mette went on to say that it helps to have an experienced writer in your life so that you know how to "get there" by watching someone else make the journey.

James Dashner said that he can't stress enough the networking aspect of writing and publishing. Writers conferences have helped him a great deal and he finds them invaluable because not only can you take great classes but also because you meet people who help and encourage you. Usually there is also the opportunity to meet agents and editors at writing conferences. He said that most successful writers meet someone at a writers conference that has been key to their success. He named Jeff Savage as being one helpful person he met at a conference.

Frank Cole said that the person that helped him the most was his sister, who was brutally honest. He said she helped him develop thick skin. Rejection is a part of writing and a writer needs to get used to it and learn how to handle it. Frank said that having someone brutally honest early on was very helpful.

Tyler Whitesides agreed with James Dashner and said that he can trace all positive influence he has received to writers conferences. He also said that his agent has been very helpful. "He ripped my story apart but still wanted to work with me to get it publishable."

Anna Del c Dye said the best advice she received was from her son who noticed that her characters all had the same voice in her manuscript. She said many people will give you good advice, but unless you take the advice and make the necessary changes, your work won't get better. She advised writers to keep moving forward. She said we need variety in books. not everyone will like the same authors, and that is how it should be.

James added to Anna's remarks by saying that when people are critiquing your work, you have to take it with a grain of salt. You have to be able to see when they're right but also see when they're wrong. People say ridiculous things in critique groups sometimes. They are trying to find out what is wrong with your work. When people say things that conflict with others in the same group, you can reach your own conclusions. When everyone is saying the same thing, you should probably take notice. Everyone is different and sometimes after a critique you will feel hurt and crippled.

Tyler added that in critique groups it is good for people to point out problems with your work, but they should not be telling you how to change it. You alone should decide how to change it.

On the subject of critique groups, Mette advised forming a critique group of trusted friends who write in your own genre. Most authors switch from critique groups to a small, select group of friends later on in their careers.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Writer to writer is the best way to go. I've learned so much from my writer friends and others I bumped into at conferences.

Karen Dupaix said...

I think so too. I am looking for a group.