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Posted by on Sep 20, 2011 in Inspirational | Comments Off on Write!

“Start early and work hard. A writer’s apprenticeship usually involves writing a million words (which are then discarded) before he’s almost ready to begin. That takes a while.” – David Eddings 

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he talks about the 10,000 hour rule. It states that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. This does not mean you have to write for 10,000 hours before you can create a book worth publishing, but with every word you write, your experience and skill increase.

If you’re nowhere near the 10,000 hour mark and the book you’ve written isn’t getting the praise you expect, perhaps you should re-examine your ability to write. Every one of us can always improve. I recently looked at a novel I wrote ten years ago (which I thought was amazing at the time) with shock at the rookie mistakes, awful pacing, incredible wordiness, and countless clichés. That book is due for a complete rewrite.

Remember a five years ago when you thought you knew it all, and now looking back you realize just how much you’ve learned since then, how much wiser you’ve become? Do you think you’ll be thinking any differently about who you are now in another five years? True humility is not the downplaying of our skills, but the realization that we still have much to learn no matter what our skill level may be. True wisdom comes from learning this fact. You don’t know it all, not about writing, relationships, business, or life. You never will. But you will learn more. You’ll always learn more.

Write to improve your skill, write to learn how to write, write because you love to write. You’re a young adult writer. You want to produce amazing YA novels. Finish your novel, and as you start to shop it around, put it up online, or whatever you choose, write some more! It’s who we are. Embrace that. Write!


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-ly Adverbs. How to write badly.

Posted by on Sep 6, 2011 in Tips and Tutorials | 3 comments

When editing a manuscript, some words deserve to die – not always, but usually.” – Tameri Publications

Young adult writers, any writers actually, have heard it said that -ly adverbs are bad. In most situations this is true. Before you argue otherwise, let’s take a look at why you should strive to eliminate -ly adverbs from your writing.


1) Many adverbs used are redundant

Have you ever read that someone crept quietly across the room? Exactly how else would you creep across a room? Banging your feet? Perhaps someone yelled loudly as opposed to those quiet yellers we hear. Whenever you’re about to use an -ly verb ask yourself if it is really enhancing the verb you’ve chosen or if you’re just trying to get more words on the page.

2) Some adverbs don’t make sense.

I remember a comment about an idea that could “literally make your head spin” and yet I survived. And after that marathon are you completely exhausted?  Make sure the your adverb doesn’t contradict the definition of the verb its modifying. Also make sure the adverb isn’t included in the verb’s definition.

3) Sometimes you’re just trying to fill space

One of the most frequent places to find adverbs is after “said.”

“Ok,” Kelly said sadly.

In longer sections of dialogue, writers often feel that they need to enhance sentences by throwing in some adverbs to break up the monotony of several “said”s. A better option would be to reword the sentence to omit the need for a dialogue tag or word the dialogue so the potential adverb is implied and you don’t need to use it.

A tear rolled down Kelly’s cheek. “Ok.”

4) A better verb eliminates the use of an adverb

Did she “sit sadly” or did she “sulk?” Did he “run quickly” or did he “sprint,” “dash,” or “bolt?” Often times writers realize that the verb they’re using doesn’t clearly express the image they’re trying to project. Instead of adding an adverb, try a different verb. With thousands of them to choose from, why not expand your vocabulary, and possibly that of your readers, and try some new ones out.

5) Instead of an adverb, add descriptive text. (Show instead of tell.)

“The training went on endlessly.” Really? What happened? Here’s an opportunity for paragraphs of description to show the struggle and determination of the character in question. Why sum it up in a sentence? Don’t miss an opportunity to engage your readers and increase their connection to your characters.


I hope you can now see that elimination of -ly adverbs can take your writing skills to a much higher level. This isn’t just about some people saying, “Don’t use ‘ly adverbs! They’re bad!” You writing and your readers will benefit from this practice. Not usually, always.

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Attitude of Gratitude

Posted by on Sep 6, 2011 in Inspirational | Comments Off on Attitude of Gratitude

This week we look at part three of When am I Going to Get Published? Last week I told you to Advance with Faith. This is one of the hardest things to do with any goal that is bigger than anything we’ve done before, and writing YA novels, especially your first, is huge for most people. Now let’s look at the next step…

4) Attitude of Gratitude

What is an attitude of gratitude? It’s simply being thankful for everything in your life. Sounds simple enough, but do you really do it? Are you thankful for the roof over your head? The meals you eat? The friends you have? The fact that you’re connected to the world through the internet? Are you thankful for the imagination you’ve been given that creates the stories your want to share with the world?
Our attitude is one of the primary factors that helps or hinders us in the world. Attitude determines behaviour. Behaviour determines action. Action determines results. Gratitude can change your attitude about your life and your goals.
As you improve your attitude everything changes. A lack of gratitude actually causes poverty, though not necessarily financially. We can be poor in many areas of our lives and if you have a bad attitude, you will be. If you are in the habit of pointing out why things can’t be done, if you get jealous of other people’s achievements, if you always find fault in others, chances are you are very happy in your own life.
Remember: it takes just as much energy to think a good thought as it does to think a bad one. It takes the same amount of energy to praise as it does to demean. And it takes the same amount of energy to set a high goal as it does to set a low one. However, one way of doing things gives you more energy. It makes you happier and, through you, it makes the people around you happier. It actually attracts more good things into your life. The other way causes just the opposite. It results in anger, resentment, jealousy, loneliness, and self-pity. Now ask yourself, which way are you living, and which way sounds better?
It may feel hard to change your attitude, but you can start by simply picking a different thing to be grateful for each day. As each new day arrives you’ll find yourself being for grateful for so many things, and you’ll notice how your mood shifts to a more pleasant one. Now, what has this got to do with getting your YA novels published? Good question!
First our attitude determines whether or not we’ll stick to our goals. You are sure to hit obstacles when trying to get published, but they are there for a reason. Every obstacle life throws at us is there to make us grow. This is a tough concept for many to grasp, but it’s true. If everything were easy, if there were no challenges, then we wouldn’t mature, become more confident, more responsible, wiser. If you have any doubt, look at anyone who hasn’t done much and find out what their biggest challenges were and how they overcame them. Chances are they haven’t overcome much because they shied away from the challenges.
So what do we do when an obstacle or challenges hits us? We express gratitude for it! This is an opportunity to grow and the bigger the challenge the bigger the growth and the bigger the reward! If you’ve got a huge obstacle in your way just think of what’s waiting on the other side of it. Now you just have to figure out if you need to go over, around, or through it.
It’s up to you if you want to be grateful for the things in your life, and knowing you should isn’t enough. You need to want to be grateful. It should be a chore, it should be part of who you are. Then you’ll find that more things to be grateful will come into your life. It could be a direct contact to publisher, a query letter that gets accepted, an independent publishing deal, an idea that could really improve your novel, or something else unexpected but just as welcome.
Be thankful in all aspect of your life, make gratitude a habit, and watch how life changes for the better.
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