Breathe: Finding Your Writing Zen
I also have a monthly column on writing at Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show with lots of essays on anything from dealing with fear to how to write villains.
I recommend the following essays there:
1. 10 Step Novel Structure
2. Character Leads to Plot, Plot Leads to Character
3. How to Write a Query Letter
4. 12 Questions to Ask About Your Magic System
5. Advanced Character Development
6. Why Talent Doesn't Exist and Doesn't Matter Anyway
7. Rules of Revision
8. How I Find Time to Write
Other Random Bits and Pieces on Writing
20 tips on revision
12 lessons in revision
7 tips on dialog
20 Rules of Bad writing
Letter to Young Writers
Advice to Parents and Teachers
My "Said-Bookism" Rant
For those who want to know simply how to make a career out of writing, I would say that you must simply write. If you want to help your child learn how to write,
don't worry about hiring a professional critiquer. Don't critique your child's grammar yourself. If the child isn't comfortable with you reading it, that's fine.
Writing is the best way to get better, and it happens without any other pressure. In fact, sometimes other pressure can be seriously negative. My path to writing began
I remember vividly one day, sitting down and
telling my teacher a story about the rainbow-colored, friendly-looking dragon I had drawn.
The teacher wrote down the story I told her, which was quite short. It was this, "The dragon lives in a cave.
He is lonely. Everyone is afraid of him. Some people don't even have homes
because he burned them up. He is trying to be friendly. But no one else is friends with him." When
I was finished, the teacher said, "You should be a writer." This is the actual picture I drew, which my
mother kept for over thirty years, because I think she thought I should be a writer, too.
I wrote a lot of other stories in elementary school. One of my favorites is this one, complete with illustrations:
"This is about a giant that is nice. once upon a time a giant did't have a friend at, because
he came out shaking the world. So he was poor. one day a hunter came to the woods. the came out
and the hunter shot him. So every body mond and grond for him. one day the mother giant gad a baby boy. he grew and grew and
became a father giant. oh thay lived in a cave." Click here if you would like to read
more of my early stories. They're not great literature, but I think they do help parents and children not despair.
If I wrote like that then, and I write like I do now, well, anyone can be a good writer, given a lot of practice and
about thirty years.
Here are a handful of my other beginner works. It is perfectly natural and very useful to write fanfic, in my opinion. I wrote plenty!
1. My Star Trek novel
2. My Sherlock Holmes novel
3. My Perry Mason novel
4. My first published short story from college "Enid Is At The Door"
5. Clarence, You're an Angel, my first attempt to write Book of Mormon Fan Fic, also my first submitted work--rejected with a very nice letter.
6. Embarrassingly bad sf written in graduate school
7. The Shepherdess Daughter, also embarrassingly bad first young adult novel