Adrienne Kress is the author of many books for young adults, including Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and its sequel, Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate. Her short story The Clockwork Corset (which you can read on Figment here) was also included in Corsets & Clockwork, a steampunk short story anthology.
I’m often asked, “What advice would you offer young writers starting out?” It’s tough because there is so much to talk about with writing, so much advice to give and warnings etc to make.
In the end I find that the most useful bit of advice I can offer is this: Read a lot of everything. Write a lot of everything. Don’t be afraid to fail.
To expand –
Read a lot of everything: Pretty much what it sounds like. Read everything. I’m talking about the kind of books you like, and the kind of books you don’t like. Read every genre (fantasy, thriller, realistic, etc). I’m also talking about reading different kinds of writing: plays, poems, novels, non-fiction, essays, articles, comic books, etc. Read the classics, read what’s new. Understand everything you possibly can about the way words can be brought together to create awesome.
Write a lot of everything: You need to write a lot in order to figure stuff out. You need to find your voice, your style, your passion. And this leads me to my last point . . .
Don’t be afraid to fail. There’s a movie called MEET THE ROBINSONS which is about a family of inventors (well it’s also about time travel and has a dinosaur and stuff in it too, but, well, I digress . . .). Whenever someone fails at an experiment, the family celebrates. Literally. With balloons and confetti and so on. Because failing means you get to learn something. So . . . be brave in your writing. Try not to ask, “Am I allowed to do this?”, but rather just do it. See what happens. If it works, awesome. If it doesn’t work, awesome. Just try. Go out on a limb. Be ridiculous, be dark, be different, be cheesy, be hopeful . . . just try. And don’t worry about failing because it really doesn’t matter. Writing is about finding who you are and what you love as a writer. And you can’t find it by being safe.
So that’s my very basic advice. I have tons more over at my blog www.ididntchoosethis.blogspot.com – way more specific advice, but I think the above will start you off on the right path.
Read a lot.
Write a lot.
Don’t be afraid to fail.
And, as they say in the movie GALAXY QUEST: “Never give up, never surrender!”