Ally Malinenko is here today, revealing the cover for her YA novel, THIS IS SARAH, and sharing some writing advice.
Here are my top five bits of writing advice from some really great writers all of whom know a heck of a lot more than I do about this writing game. Read and be wiser!
5. Garret Freyman-Weir – Author of My Heartbeat, Stay With Me, When I was Older and The Kings are Already Here.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read. Really, I cannot begin to describe all the times I’ve met people who tell me that they would love to write, if only they could find the time (as if writing were a hobby, although given the quality of much of what is published, I sometimes think it is!), but if I talk to them at length it quickly becomes clear they do not read. That’s like wanting to run a marathon, but not wanting to run. Reading is the only way to learn how to write. It can’t be taught, exactly. It has to be absorbed.
4. Rebecca Stead – Author of When You Reach Me and Liar and Spy
What tips or advice can you share with young students who hope to start writing?
First: Read. It’s been said over and over, but reading is the most important thing an aspiring writer can do. Read what you love. Read something you think you won’t like at all. Experiment with your reading, but don’t stop reading.
Second: Don’t be discouraged by your first draft. For many writers, the first draft is a pretty terrible translation of what might be a terrific idea. Don’t stop and think, “this is awful.” It doesn’t help. Revision is just as much a part of the job as the first draft. If you aren’t willing to revise, you can’t be a writer.
3. Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) – Author of The Series of Unfortunate Events, When We Broke Up and All The Wrong Questions Series.
What’s the greatest or most memorable piece of advice on writing that you have ever received?
“Read everything out loud.”
2. Laini Taylor – Author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight
“Be an unstoppable force. Write with an imaginary machete strapped to your thigh. This is not wishy-washy, polite, drinking-tea-with-your-pinkie-sticking-out stuff. It’s who you want to be, your most powerful self. Write your books. Finish them, then make them better. Find the way. No one will make this dream come true for you but you.”
1.Neil Gaiman – Author of (tons of other stuff but also) Coraline, The Sandman Series, The Graveyard Book
Make amazing mistakes
Leave the world a more interesting place, and
Make good art
So there you guy. Easy right? Read. Write. Believe. Don’t give up. Read more. Write more. Believe more. Don’t give up more.
I don’t think there’s much that I could add to this. I mean, let’s be honest – these are all big fish writers and I’m a bottom feeder – happily and joyfully – but still a bottom feeder. But I will say this:
When you do start writing don’t give up. Just write. Keep writing. When it’s good keep writing. When it’s bad keep writing. When someone tells you it’s terrible and you should stop, keep writing. When someone tells you it’s perfect don’t change it, keep writing. You know in your heart what you are striving for. One day you’ll wake up and you’ll have found your voice. But it takes work. Be ready to do the work.
About the author:Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collection, The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press), and the children’s novel Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Antenna Books). This Is Sarah is her first YA book. Ally lives in Brooklyn with her husband and a very ridiculous tabby cat. She blogs at allymalinenko.com and you can follow her on twitter at @allymalinenko
About the book:When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin's world unravels as he is transformed from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that could change everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so, what is Colin willing to do to bring her back?
And as Colin struggles with this possibility, across the street, Sarah’s little sister Claire learns how to navigate the strange new landscape that is life without her sister. Even as her parent’s fall apart, Claire is determined to keep on going. Even if it kills her.
THIS IS SARAH is a meditation on loss, love, and what it means to say goodbye.
Cover design by Anita B. Carroll at Race-Point.com