I was talking on Twitter to a bunch of awesome bloggers – only one of whom was a boy. We were talking about how few male bloggers there are. And so I thought: Why not create a feature specifically designed to get boys into blogging – and reading? And so Book Addicted Boys was born!
And this week we have the amazing Sean Williams here to celebrate the publication of his new book Twinmaker! Enjoy! :D
Sean Williams' Top 10 Writing Tips
1. Read a lot.
This is the most important one, because the best way to learn what makes a good book is to read books. That sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Like, if you want to play football you should watch lots of football. But reading is something we do every day, and I guess some people think that ordinary reading is enough to know how to do it right. It’s not. Books are special. Eat them up.
2. Write a lot.
We’re back to football. If you want to play, you have to practise. Same with writing. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. There’s a wonderful Japanese saying: “Even a thief takes ten years to learn her trade.” Be that thief. Learn to steal our hearts with your words.
3. Write what you love.
Always do that. Why slog away at something if you don’t like it? Writing is hard work, but it should be fun too.
4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Nobody’s perfect first time. Or second time. Or the third. (Repeat until the page is full.) It’s okay to be imperfect – in fact it’s good, because who knows what “perfect” is anyway? You have to miss a thousand goals before you make the perfect shot in a final. You’ll probably have to get caught a few times before you make off with the Mona Lisa, too. (Tip: don’t steal.) It’s the same with writing. Making mistakes proves you’re learning.
5. Don’t be afraid to show it to other people.
When you’ve worked on something to the point where it’s the best you can possibly make it, but you know it’s not right yet, how do you fix it? The best way is to give it to someone else to read. Most people want to love your work as much as you do, but you’re bound to find someone who will also tell you how to improve it. If you never show it to anyone, how are you going to become the next J. K. Rowling?
6. Listen to other people.
Whether you’ve asked them for advice or not, if they’re telling you what they honestly think of your work it’s probably a good idea to listen. Even if you disagree with them. Remember it is (or should be) about the work, not you, so don’t take it personally.
7. Ignore other people.
Sometimes you have to do what you want no matter what people say. No one reads novels about time-travelling soccer players from a future where sport is illegal? Who cares! I’m doing it anyway because it’s what I love.
There’s always something to learn. There’s always something to un-learn. The better we think we are at something, the easier it is to slip into bad habits without realising. Every book I write I try to shake things up a little by attempting something new and weird. It keeps things fun, too.
9. Keep reading!
There are always new books. There are always old books. There’s way too many books ever to read them all, which means there’s always something that’s exactly right for you, right now. I use the books I’m reading to inspire me to write better. Some people use it as an escape from what they’re writing. Either way, it keeps reminding us what a book is and what we’re doing all this typing for. And so . . .
The best way to succeed at anything is never to give up. Be stubborn. Be persistent. Don’t let anyone stop you, including/especially yourself!
Thank you so much, Sean! I hope this has helped any aspiring writers out there!!
Find out more about Twinmaker: here. And check out Sean's site, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads Page. :D
#1 New York Times bestselling Sean Williams lives with his family in Adelaide, South Australia. He’s written some books--thirty-nine at last count--including the Philip K. Dick-nominated Saturn Returns, several Star Wars novels and the Troubletwister series with Garth Nix. Twinmaker is the first in a new YA SF series that takes his love affair with the matter transmitter to a whole new level. You can find some related short stories over at Lightspeed Magazine.