Advice from DragonCon

DragonCon is known for a lot of things, including some very informative panels. It’s one of the few events where my love of travel and writing intersect. This year, I only made it to one panel but I did manage to talk to a lot of writers. I got a lot of advice this year, some good and some bad, especially when it came to the business of writing. Two pieces of advice stuck with me, both of which I had heard before.

The first was to write the type of stories that I want to read. This time I really thought about what I was being told. The speaker, whose name I forget, wasn’t a big name author but what he said made a lot of sense. He wasn’t just talking about genre but also things like tone, pacing, and length. That got me thinking about the stories I enjoyed the most. Some of the best stories I’ve read are lean and tight ones, that pull you into them from page one. They didn’t lack details but every description and event in them advanced the plot and developed the characters. Stephen King’s Running Man is a very tight, entertaining story that I enjoyed (and far different from the movie). Nine Princes in Amber is probably my favorite fantasy novel but it’s not very long by today’s standards but I would call it a far better read than any of Robert Jordan’s much longer Wheel of Time novels.

The second piece of advice was to not rush things. This is one of those things I need to constantly remind myself about. There’s a lot of temptation to cut corners and rush things. It makes following this advice extremely difficult. I want to publish my stories as soon as I finish them but I know they’re not ready. A little time listening to beta readers, editors, and your muse can turn a good story into a great one. Time spent working on a eye catching cover and description can help sell your book to those unfamiliar with your work. The problem with this advice is that it can delay and frustrate you. I missed several deadlines I set for myself but those delays helped me publish a better book or story. I’m hoping that’s the case with the three projects I have waiting to be published.

So why am I posting this? I wanted to share what I learned. I also wanted people to know where my head is at right now. Things are going to change with regards to how I do things. It’s all part of a process that I hope will improve my writing and career.

Okay, that’s all for now. It’s early and I need to get a couple of hours sleep before I tackle the day.


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