The internet is always overflowing with gargantuanly helpful advice. It’s literally exploding with it. You can basically get a “How To” post on everything — from how to fold the perfect origami Nazgul TO how start a book blog TO how to build a palace out of chocolate and live in it for 84 years. *
And, of course, there’s copious amounts of writing advice. Which is simultaneously helpful (particularly if you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING AT ALL) and also a little daunting (THERE’S SO MUCH WHAT DO YOU BELIEVED).
So, helpfully, I’ve complied aaaaall the advice you’ll commonly hear on How To Write an Excellent YA Novel. I see people reiterating this advice all. the. time. So it’s full of win. Trust me now.
Follow this exactly and you will be famous.
* Actually I saw this in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But I suspect there’s a tutorial somewhere though right? INTERNET. DON’T LET ME DOWN HERE.
- Always write the story on your heart — it will definitely be successful then.
- But, if you intend to be traditionally published, make sure it fits with what’s currently selling. Publishers look for specific things, dude.
- Speaking of which, write when the inspiration burns brightest. INSPIRED THINGS ARE THE MOST GLORIOUS!
- But don’t wait for inspiration to strike or you’ll never ever get around to writing. Go after it with an axe, or hammer, or hedgehog. Oh I don’t know. Jack London said something intelligent about it once.
- Just get it written NOW.
- Or when you’re inspired.
- And write everyday while you’re at it, because that develops good habits.
- Even though you honestly don’t even need to write everyday because brains need breaks to refill their creative juices.
- Speaking of juices and drinking…
- WRITE DRUNK; EDIT SOBER….as the famous authors say.
- Wait, don’t do that at all. Seriously. It’s not the 1930s. EAT A SANDWICH INSTEAD OR SOMETHING. Stay healthy.
- Make sure you add diverse characters into your story because diversity needs to be represented. Every person deserves to see themselves represented in a book.
- Support the minorities!
- Celebrate diversity!
- But whatever you do, don’t write something you know nothing about. Because you WILL misrepresent it and that’s the GREATEST WRITING SIN in the history of Jupiter and Mars.
- You can research, of course, research everything. Talk to people who’ve lived it. Walk in their shoes.
- But, dude, if you haven’t lived it…hmmm. Maybe don’t write it?
- In fact, if you’re white/straight/middle-class, we’re probably sick of hearing your stories because they all sound the same.
- Please don’t put characters or authors in boxes.
- Just some authors, you can totally box some authors.
- This makes complete sense, don’t look at me like that.
- Don’t make your character sound like you!! It makes taking criticism so hard. Plus your characters will all sound boring after a while because THEY ARE ALL YOU.
- But write what you know.
- Please, for the love of french fish, DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTERS. They must move forward! They must grow!
- But if you change them too much, then your readers will hate it.
- Possibly burn you at the stake.
- Don’t let that happen, I hear it’s an unpleasant experience, especially in the warmer months.
- Also definitely make sure your romantic couple gets together. SAIL THAT SHIP, FOLKS. Readers get really invested and it’s disappointing when all the angst is for naught.
- As long as you add in a good dose of tragedy. Life is not perfect!
- For example: break up your romantic couple! That’s super realistic.
- Don’t kill them though.
- In fact, don’t kill any characters. Because it makes the book pointless.
- But also LET YOUR MAIN CHARACTERS GET HURT! Or else it’s super unrealistic and annoying to coddle them through danger.
- You’d best kill off some adorable darlings to show how war doesn’t play favourites.
- Unless the character is diverse. Don’t kill them. Diversity equals immortality.
- But war doesn’t play favourites.
- So kill everyone.
- KILL THE WHOLE DANG CAST OF CHARACTERS. BURN IT ALL WITH FIRE. THE END.
- But character development. So at least make sure they’re well-developed ghosts.
- Please put dragons everywhere.
- This is universally unanimous advice.
- Believe me.
- I’m always 100% truthful.
- It’s definitely a good idea to make sure you attempt standalones. Publishers are more likely to take a risk on a debut author with a standalone.
- But having a sequel up your sleeve is still a good idea.
- Do you have a big sleeve? Because sneak a trilogy up there too.
- Quartet? DON’T MAKE ME LAUGH. WE DON’T DO QUARTETS.
- But you might need a novella…do you have a novella idea?
- Nobody likes novellas but you’ll probably need 1 or 25 of them.
- Also don’t write a ton of books in one world. Nobody wants to read that. Noooobody.
- Unless you’re a contemporary author??? Then it’s totally okay.
- Just don’t write more books because you want money. HAHAHA NO. THAT IS SILLY. WHY WOULD YOU NEED MONEY TO LIVE AND EAT AND EXIST?
- Writers must be poor and starving. It cannot be your career, obviously. Or you’re a fake. Please give away your time and effort and talents and work for a pittance.
- Nobody understands what it’s like to be an author, so don’t stress over it. Ignore the haters. DO YOUR THANG.
- Except that really being a writer is like any other creative pursuit. You really honestly shouldn’t have to be treated differently or discriminated. No one gets to say “being a writer isn’t a real job”. No one says “being a music teacher isn’t a real job”. THEY ARE. And like other real creative jobs, you need to treat it like one.
- But in your pyjamas.
- And please interact with your fans. FANDOMS LOVE THAT!!
- Just don’t get too involved because fandoms hate that. Once the story is out there, it belongs to them, not you.
- Basically leave the fans alone.
- Seriously, they can be terrifying, eeesh. Especially if you write something wrong.
- I MEAN WHO EVEN ARE YOU TO WRITE THIS WRONGLY??? YOU KNOW NOTHING, JON SNOW.
- Never read your reviews.
- But read your reviews so you can learn from them and grow as a writer.
- Basically feedback is CRUCIAL. Get all the feedback you can!
- Feedback is always going to clash, however, because everyone has different opinions. Between 2 and 5 people is a good amount to take feedback from.
- If you take feedback from everyone you’ll go nuts. Deranged. UTTERLY BONKERS. You will probably throw yourself off a tall cliff into a vat of chocolate sauce and remain there forever. Which will be delicious, at least. Small mercies.
- Just at least make sure you’re blogging. You need to establish yourself, grow your audience.
- But focus 100% on your writing because that’s important.
- ONE HUNDRED PERCENT, I SAY. You have no time for hobbies.
- And consume lots of media and books and inspiration from aaaall the places so you’ll write better. Stuff yourself with inspiration.
- But not too much.
- Or you’ll copy. And that’s evil.
- WHERE’S THAT VAT OF CHOCOLATE AGAIN, BECAUSE YOU NEED TO DROWN IN IT.
Just in case you didn’t pick it up, this post is decidedly full of…
Being a writer IS hard and it’s especially hard when there’s SO MUCH ADVICE OUT THERE AND IT ALL CONTRADICTS ITSELF. Let’s sob together shall we?
But you know why I wrote this post?!?! Apart from the glorious chance to use a Castiel gif who is, of course, wonderful — I really really want to underline this super important fact that sometimes we, as writers, forget in the effort to “get it all right” …
there is no “one” single way to write!!
NOT FOR ANY ASPECT! HUZZAH!! Isn’t that a relief?!? If someone tells you that you have to do this-certain-thing, then I suggest stuffing their face with cake so they can’t talk and trotting off to go explore things on your own. There are always different ways. Not all advice is right for YOU. Not all advice is even right.
(Unless it’s my advice, duh. My advice is perfect.)
So, writerly pineapples, please — PLEASE — remember this super important thing…there’s more than one way to write a book and you’re not doing it wrong. Read read read books and learn aaaall the advice you can, and then break the rules if you need to and follow your gut and your dreams. Apparently your dreams reside in your stomach. Which makes sense, honestly. SO LISTEN TO YOUR STOMACH.
WRITE WILDLY AND WONDERFULLY AND BE YOURSELF.