NaNoWriMo Nov Day 13: Alyssa Sheinmel

Posted by Jazz on Sunday November 13th, 2016

Today it's the turn of Faceless author Alyssa Sheinmel to share her five top writing tips for aspiring authors – take it away, Alyssa!

What would be your five top tips to budding writers?

1. Read. Read writers who wrote the type of writing that you’re trying to do yourself.

2. Read. Read writers whose work you look up to, whose stories might be very different from the stories you’re trying to tell, but who tell their stories so well that just reading them feels like a writing lesson.

3. Read. Do research on the story you’d like to tell – read articles, essays, interviews, the works.

4. Read. Pick up something a friend or teacher recommended that you’d never have thought to pick up otherwise – an author you’ve never heard of, a genre you never thought you’d be interested in.

5. And if all else fails ... Read. I honestly believe that every single thing I’ve ever read has taught me something about how to tell a story: books that I’ve loved and books that weren’t necessarily my cup of tea. Novels and non-fiction. Essays and articles. Even – and I really mean this – textbooks. Ideas can come from the most unexpected of places.  A textbook taught me to insert humor into a dry topic. Magazine articles have prompted (sometimes completely unrelated) story ideas. Novel after novel has shown me beautiful and unexpected sentences. Essays have improved my vocabulary. For me, the essential thing isn’t always what I’m reading; sometimes it’s just enough that I’m reading. It’s still (and I suspect always will be) the piece of advice I most often give to myself about writing: just sit down and read.

For those hoping to take part in NaNoWriMo or enter the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, what would be your best tip for writing something every day?

For me, I find it’s incredibly helpful to set a manageable goal for the day. That way, if I exceed my goal, I feel great, but even if I only just barely meet it, I still have the satisfaction of completing my day’s work. This can be a word-count-goal, or a chapter-goal, or just a getting-through-a-scene-goal – whatever feels right to you.

Enter the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition to be in with a chance of winning a £10,000 publishing contract! 

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