Teen Book Con was a blast! I had a great time. Lani Taylor gave an amazing Keynote that set the tone of a great day of fun and learning from some epic, accomplished YA authors. So from my notes on each of the five panels I went to, I'm compiling a list of top helpful writing tips for aspiring authors as well as some interesting questions that were asked about the behind the scenes of what goes in to publishing a book.
On Writing a Book:1) Where do you get your ideas?
Both Benjamin Alire Saenz and Katherine McGee weighed in on the question and gave similar answers. Observing people is really the greatest tool for finding story inspiration and building characters. I completely agree with this.
2) Do you plot or just write?
All of the authors had totally different answers to this question. Nina LaCour said she writes snippets that come to her and then pieces them together into an outline and later a story. Kathleen Glassglow said she has to write out the whole novel before she outlines. And Len Vlahos said that he waits till the novel is formed in his head before he writes it.
3) How do you stay with a story?
It was the authors general consensus that you just have to push through the inevitable rough spots if you really love the story.
4) What is the most difficult part of writing?
Of course, this is unique for everyone, and that was represented by the panel's responses. Nina LaCour said that it was the middle slump of the first draft. Kayla Cagan said that it was letting go of the characters at the end, and Benjamin Alire Saenz said that it was all hard, but that's what he loves about it.
5) Tips for authors stuck in revisions.
Katherine McGee and Benjamin Alire Saenz both agreed that getting feedback from people you trust is imperative to realizing what the problems are.
6) Advice for coping with writers block.
There were many different tips given throughout the day to this popular question some include:
- Write every day. It keeps the writers block away.
- Keep going.
- Read poetry and take walks.
- Turn off your phone
- Don't critique yourself.
- Listen to music. Talk to friends.
- Read a different genre than you're writing.
On Creating Characters:
On After the Writing:
And Finally the Number One Question:
- Len Vlahos: Read Steven King's On Writing
- Andrew McCarthy: Just begin.
- Nina LaCour: Find someone to read your work.
- Kathleen Glasgow: Someone needs to hear your story.
- Kayla Cagan: Ask yourself why you're stuck.
- Benjamin Alire Saenz: Do whatever it takes to keep writing.