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Tips for Young Authors #3: Where Do I Start?

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Tips for Young Authors #3: Where Do I Start?

Part 3 of Tips for Young Authors!

Part 3 of Tips for Young Authors!

Kahlin Lindholm

Part 3 of Tips for Young Authors!

Kahlin Lindholm

Kahlin Lindholm

Part 3 of Tips for Young Authors!

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So far with these tips, I’ve given advice for what not to do if you want to be an author. Don’t write cookie cutter stories, don’t write impossibly powerful characters, but the big question that I, and many other authors my age, ask is: what do I do, then?

After all, everybody keeps telling me what not to do; how do I know when I’m finally doing something right?

First things first: there is no right way to create stories.

Every story is unique in the way that it is presented, and all of these presentation styles are equally valid. Because of this, while there are many guidelines as to what to avoid when writing, do keep in mind that these are guidelines, essentially training wheels for the art of storytelling.

And of course, training wheels are temporary – eventually, it’s up to you to decide what goes and what doesn’t.

This leads into my two biggest focuses this time around: developing your writing style and continuing to hone it.

Something that many a prospective author – myself included – struggle with is getting our work out into the world. So many of us have high expectations of ourselves, or aspire to become one of the greatest of all time, and as a result, believe that we can’t possibly release our work before it’s done perfectly.

This trap is easy to fall into, especially with passion projects. I myself have been “working” on a story for nearly a decade now, and all I have to show for it are a few measly pages that resemble a chapter one.

Being passionate about your work is amazing, and can push you to break boundaries and create something profound that will affect generations to come, but that will only come about if you actually let someone read your work.

An author that I’m very fond of, Brandon Sanderson, is a professor down at Brigham Young University, or BYU. He’s written dozens of fantasy/sci-fi novels that could all easily make my favorites list, but more importantly, he hosts a lecture/podcast called “Writing Excuses.” Here, he explains to aspiring creative writers some of the processes by which you can help to refine yourself into the master storyteller you wish to become.

The two most notable parts of one of these lectures involve writing groups and figuring out your own writing style.

Writing groups are exactly what they sound like: a group of people come together, set a mutual goal for everyone to attain within a set amount of time, then go off to do their work. They reconvene, exchange papers, constructively criticize each other’s work, then repeat the process. This simple idea – meet, write, edit, repeat – is the reason why a lot of your favorite authors are bound to know one another, and why they have such a good grasp of their abilities.

It’s akin to going to the gym regularly: much like staying healthy, writing is a skill you have practice constantly, or else your abilities will begin to slip without you every realizing it.

Finally, your writing style. This is by far the most important thing to know, and quite possibly the hardest to decipher, because it requires you be totally and completely honest with yourself.

What is your work ethic? What gets you motivated to write? What do you write about? For how long? Is it something that nags at you all day or comes in brief flashes of inspiration? Questions like these are crucial to learning what your unique style of writing is like. I know that I’m not very good about doing work slowly over time, but I also know that when I have the motivation, I could write for hours on end with no problems, and so I work around that idea. Being honest with yourself about what makes you tick will take you far, with becoming a successful author.

So, in conclusion. You don’t have to listen to all the rules: write what you want to write. Experiment, get creative – why else would you be an author? My tip for young authors is this: do it the way you do it, not the way they do it. There’s bound to be plenty of them in the world.

So show them all what makes you different.

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About the Contributor
Kahlin Lindholm, Cub Reporter

I’ve been working on a book series for the last nine years, and all the while have been brainstorming, writing, and rewriting every minute detail. I’m...

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