Inkpop Blog

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Tips From Series Author

Posted by inkpop on May 14, 2010

Sure you can write a great novel, but what about three in a row? That’s what author Rachel Vail has just done. Find out what it takes to write a series from Rachel Vail, author of the upcoming novel Brilliant, the third book in the Avery Sister series.

Photo Credit: Mitchell Spencer Vail Elkind

1. Beware Profundity
Just barf out your first draft. Don’t pressure yourself to write the most brilliant, profound first sentence in the history of literature. Tell the story first. Revising is the fun part, but that’s for later.

2. Know What you Write
Without getting mired in autobiography, bring your own experiences into the story through your emotions and reactions. When did you feel embarrassed? Get specific! Make yourself feel it again, and then use that feeling for your characters.

3. Figure Out What Works for You
Writers struggle with their stories. Some work from an outline, some begin with a title and wing it from there; some have a burning a question driving them, others a plot or character. The only way to know what works for you is to try. Stick with anything that works, but stay open to new methods. If you keep learning from others (and from yourself), you will continue to grow and improve – and not only as a writer.

4. Fall in Love
Fall hard for your characters and your story. Not your words. And especially not your word count. Revise, cut, purge, be ruthless with your words. Put the deletes in an outtakes file; it hurts less and who knows, you might use them later. Kind of like bringing home that doggie bag from dinner.  It’s silly, maybe, but hopeful, which is always good.

5. Ask Your Characters Questions
When a plot stalls, ask yourself (as the protagonist) questions in your notes file. Who am I? Whom do I trust? Doubt? What’s my secret? What is the worst thing I ever did? What am I scared of? What do I want? Who is stopping me from getting it? What am I willing to risk, to get it? Is there something I actually want even more? When your answers start surprising you, you’re on the right track.

Want to hear more? Join us for a live chat with Rachel Vail, Friday May 28th on inkpop!

One Response to “Tips From Series Author”

  1. Carrie said

    Oh my Gosh, number 4 is exactly me. I really have fallen in love with my characters, and I also have a word document titled ‘Ideas for Book’ and any time I have to cut something, I paste it there. Nine times out of ten, I end up never using it, but it does lessen the pain of removing pieces your hard work. Great interview.

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