Hi there! Natalie here today instead of Casey. Today I'm excited to share a writing tip from Royce Buckingham along with a giveaway of DEMONKEEPER, the first book in his MG series. Details about Royce's books and the contest are at the end of the post. First here's Royce's tip:
Advice for intermediate writers – picking your best story.
Beginning writers just need to get writing. True. Even years into the craft, the standard advice is to keep writing. Always. Absolutely. But here’s a hint for those of you have been at it for a little while and want to use your writing time as efficiently as possible.
The skill of determining in which story to invest your time is an invaluable time-saver. It can take a year (or more) to write a novel. You don’t want to write something that has an audience of one (you) and cannot sell. I did this—for me it was a literary medieval fantasy tragedy. The tragedy was that there was no market for my conglomeration of genres and styles. And it didn’t help that it was boring. I had about a zillion ideas, and I chose that one. Good practice, yes. But not a good use of that year of my life.
As a writer, you ought to have about one zillion ideas. Indeed, if you intend to make a career of it, you must. So why write the first thing that pops into your head? I’ll go you one further; why write the thing that pops into your head that you love the most?
Sacrilege you say? You think you simply must, must, must write that story you absolutely love?
Let me put it another way. I love all of my ideas. They’re like my children (you’ve heard this, right?). I submit that you are not a single story. You’re a writer of many stories. So why not write something you love (could be any of your children) that your potential (and as-of-yet unknown) audience will love the most?
So many writers I meet are so determined to write that one story that they love that they’ll forgo all others, whether or not anyone else loves it. And, importantly, whether or not it can sell.
Here’s my advice for avoiding spending a year of your life writing something you think is great, but no one else will.
Try writing a “one-page” for 5-10 different stories. Then try them on people. Everyone will tell you that a single story idea is “good.” But it might be more valuable to have each of those people tell you which story is the best.
This happened to me via contests. For thirteen years, I wrote stories for competitions, but DEMONKEEPER was the one that kept winning. Hmmm, I thought, maybe that’s the one I should work on for submission to publishers? I did. It sold. The rest is history (and two sequels—DEMONEATER and DEMONOCITY).
The above advice is a tool, not a rule. But it’s a tool I wish I’d had before I invested a year in my unsellable novel and more than a decade in all of those other stories that did not win competitions. It was all good practice craft-wise, and I certainly had to practice for a number of years before anything was good enough to sell, but after I was a competent writer (say seven years in), I could have streamlined the getting published process a bit (by years) by testing my story ideas on as many people as possible at the outline/summary/synopsis stage before writing them all.
Best of luck!
Thanks Royce for your advice. Here's a description from Amazon of DEMONKEEPER, the first book in the series that Royce Buckingham is offering for a giveaway.
Demons are all around us—most of them are relatively harmless, like the ones that go bump in the night or make you stub your toe. But some are dangerous—some can kill. Since he was orphaned as a boy, Nat has been trained by his aged mentor Daliwahl to be a demonkeeper, controlling a menagerie of demons in their old, rickety house in Seattle. But now Dahliwahl is gone and Nat is on his own.Keeping demons isn’t a very social activity, and when Nat goes on a date with Sandy, a junior librarian’s assistant, it’s a disaster in more ways that one—while Nat’s out, a very scary demon called the Beast escapes. Can Nat get the Beast back to the house and make things right with Sandy—and do it all by himself?
With its fast-paced action, slapstick humor, and a winning, unlikely hero, Demonkeeper is a high-spirited romp that will keep readers glued to the page.
And a description of the second book, DEMONEATER, from Amazon:
It’s up to Nathaniel Grimlock, the teenage Demonkeeper, to control them, but when he discovers what’s stirring them up—a legendary monster known as the Demoneater—he finds that he’s in over his head yet again!
And finally here's a description of the final book in the series, DEOMONOCITY, from Amazon:
It’s up to his delinquent apprentice Richie and Nat’s two competing girlfriends to prevent Seattle’s destruction until he can find his way home to face the most powerful demon of them all.
Demonocity is the catastrophic conclusion to Royce Buckingham’s bestselling German series.
To enter the contest for DEMONKEEPER, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by September 8th. I’ll announce the winner on September 10th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.