7 Things I've Learned So Far, by Heather McCorkle

This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from YA writer Heather McCorkle. GIVEAWAY: Heather is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; you MUST leave your e-mail in the comment somewhere or else we will not be able to contact you; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail; international winners will receive an e-book. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Dawn won.)
Author:
Publish date:

This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,”where writers (this installment written by Heather McCorkle, author of THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL) at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their book agent -- by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning.

GIVEAWAY: Heather is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; you MUST leave your e-mail in the comment somewhere or else we will not be able to contact you; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail; international winners will receive an e-book. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Dawn won.)


Heather McCorkle is the author of the young adult urban fantasy,
The Secret of Spruce Knoll. Helping other writers and supporting
fabulous authors is her passion. As a native Oregonian, she enjoys
the outdoors almost as much as the worlds she creates on the pages.
Every Monday night, she's on Twitter where she co-moderates the
#WritersRoad chat. See her website and personal Twitter.

Image placeholder title



1. Start improving your craft right away.
Attend writers' retreats, workshops, or take classes. This is the number one thing I wish I would have known from the beginning. It's never to early or to late to start and there is always room for improvement.

2. Edit until that baby shines like a diamond. Don't think just because you write 'The End' that the novel is finished (see number one). When I wrote my first novel I revised it a tiny bit and then thought it is what it is and either they like it or they don't. Oh yeah, I actually did think that!

3. Reading your novel aloud makes all the difference in the world. Try it and you'll see what I mean. I now have a strict editing process that seems bullet proof. Yet at the end of it when I read my novel aloud I catch so much it blows me away.

4. Join and utilize a good critique group. They're hard to find but they're worth the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to seek them out. The right critique group has helped me improve more than I can say. They are worth their weight in gold.

(Do writers need an outside edit before querying agents?)

5. Start your social networking early but stick to what you're good at. It can be tempting to try everything out there and end up spreading yourself to thin, leaving yourself no time for writing. Work off your strengths when it comes to networking. Not every avenue of social networking is right for everyone. Understand that when networking it isn't about what people can do for you, it's about what you can do for them.

6. When you're ready to query agents, do your research and choose carefully. Read their website and submission requirements very closely. This is not the time to rush. If they have a blog you need to read it. If they're on Twitter you need to read their tweets or follow them. The more you know about an agent the easier it will be to determine if they are the right one for you. That way when you submit to them you will be educated about them and can personalize your query to them.

(In the middle of querying? Here are some helpful tips.)

7. Understand that having an agent doesn't guarantee that your manuscript will sell. The market is tougher than it's ever been and even agents get rejected. Give your agent ample time but be sure to keep the lines of communication open. Be prepared by writing another book, and another. Don't hang your hopes on one novel and don't give up. There are a lot of options opening up in the changing market and it's good to keep that in mind.

Best of luck!

GIVEAWAY: Heather is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; you MUST leave your e-mail in the comment somewhere or else we will not be able to contact you; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail; international winners will receive an e-book. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Dawn won.)

W7013

If you're think in the middle of writing your novel, WD's
Story Building Collection Kit is 6 items rolled into one
bundle at 69% off. The kit's books & webinars focus on
plot, structure, character, showing & telling, world building
first pages, and more. Available while supplies last.

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Image placeholder title

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

new_agent_alert_barb_roose_books_such_literary_services_adult_christian_fiction_and_nonfiction

New Agent Alert: Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

Grinnell_10:28

Evoking Emotion in Fiction: Seven Pragmatic Ways to Make Readers Give a Damn

Evoking emotion on the page begins with the man or woman at the keyboard. Dustin Grinnell serves up seven straightforward tactics for writing tear-jerking stories that make your readers empathize with your characters.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 546

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a spooky poem.

Richard_Shadowlands

Learn Better World-Building Strategies Through World of Warcraft and the New Shadowlands Expansion

WD editor and fantasy writer Moriah Richard shares five unique ways in which writers can use World of Warcraft to better build their worlds—without playing the game.

Hall_10:27

Seven Tips for Intuitive Writing: The Heart-Hand Connection

Award-winning author Jill G. Hall shares her top tips for how to dive into your latest project head-first.

bearing_vs_baring_vs_barring_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Bearing vs. Baring vs. Barring (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use bearing vs. baring vs. barring on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

15_things_a_writer_should_never_do_zachary_petit

15 Things a Writer Should Never Do

Former Writer's Digest managing editor Zachary Petit shares his list of 15 things a writer should never do, based on interviews with successful authors as well as his own occasional literary forays and flails.

Green_10:26

Evie Green: Imaginary Friends and Allowing Change

Author Evie Green explains why she was surprised to end writing a horror novel and how she learned to trust the editorial process.