As all of you know, I’m new in the writer field myself. I’ve always wanted to write, but I learned about the craft of writing only a little more than a year and a half ago. So here I am now in the trenches: wishing I had learned all I’m learning now when I was younger, when I had more than enough time to spare. I sometimes think of all the time I spent in front of the TV as a teenager and I can do nothing but shake my head at the waste of time. I don’t regret those times, yet if I could do it all over again, I would have loved to meet someone who could have guided me into the fascinating world of writing way before I finished high school.
A couple of days ago, a friend of mine sat me down and asked me “My 13-year old cousin wants to be a writer, what do you suggest she do?”
At first I didn’t even know where to start. I have learned so much lately and I wanted to share it all. I didn’t want to overwhelm my friend’s cousin, but at the same time I felt excited. I realized I was in the position to help my younger self, even if it wasn’t really me I was helping. I could pass on the knowledge to someone who had much more time on their hands and that if they are wise, it could set them on the path early on. I think it is never too late, but there are incredible advantages to starting young. One of them is having people terribly impressed with your talent at such a young age.
To answer my friend’s question, I decided to sit down and make a list of the most important readings and activities I have accumulated so far. It is not such a long list, but it is a time consuming one. And a very enjoyable one too!
I really hope my friend’s little cousin takes advantage of the free time –without worries about taxes, or salaries, or of being responsible for a household– and learns as much as she can. I hope my advice on what to read sets her on a path she will enjoy as much as I did.
I am attaching the list for you to read below. I want to spread the word of writing as much as I can because dreams should be lived and promoted. As they say in NaNoWriMo, “the world needs your novel”.
What else would you add to the list?
Where to begin if you know nothing about the craft of writing
- Beginner level:
- Conflict and Suspense by James Scott Bell
- Write great fiction series:
- Medium level:
- Advanced level:
- For after writing a draft:
- More on revision and editing:
Some blogs and podcasts I follow that added a lot of knowledge to my writing:
- Writing excuses (People are going to get tired of me talking about it, but it’s sooooo good!)
- The kill zone
- Writer unboxed
Activities I recommend:
- National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), happens every November but there is also camps in April and July. Here are the websites (the same username and password work for both sites): http://nanowrimo.org/ and http://campnanowrimo.org/
- If you still go to school and you think your classmates will enjoy writing a novel, you can try to convince your teacher to try doing the young writer program in in class. http://ywp.nanowrimo.org