Learning the Craft, or: how did I get here?
Updated: Dec 5, 2019
When I was about eight, I wrote an epic, sardonic picture book series called "Jimmy and Mary." When I was 13, my friend Jena and I pulled countless all-nighters working on our (yet) unfinished novel about a girl out of her depth and her zany P.I. aunt. When I was fresh out of college, I realized that, because I'm small and young and cute, I could literally get away with any amount of espionage imaginable. And that was the seedling of the idea for my first completed manuscript.
About two chapters into that first book, I realized (with the help of my beloved critique partners) that I had A LOT to learn about constructing a story and the publishing industry.
Several unpublished novels later, I love learning about story-craft and getting a little better all the time. Here are a few of the resources that I keep going back to:
Short podcasts on topics pertaining to writing and publishing. I binge this.
Every aspiring author should troll Amy's website for insights on how to perfect the first five pages of your manuscript. Think about it: agents, publishers, and readers are all depending on those first 5 pages to tell them if the next 300 are worth their precious time and energy.
Jessica Faust offers tons of free advice on publishing and writing from her experience as a successful agent.
Don't query without it.
There are also myriad books on story craft out there. So far, my favorites are Story, by Robert McKee and On Writing, by Stephen King. Conveniently, they offer polar opposite advice about how to craft a great story, so read them back-to-back to really get your head spinning.