Scott Coon’s Advice for Writers To-Be

Since it has taken me longer than I wanted to find success with my writing, I would like to offer some advice based on what I’ve learned along the way and wish I’d known all along.

First, writing is hard, but it gets easier the more you do it. Writing everyday will teach you how to write every day. Life is a never-ending series of issues and dramas. Don’t let them become your excuse to not pursue your goals. For years, I isolated myself at lunch so I could get some writing done. I dedicated my weekend mornings to making up for lost hours during the week. Other writers have used their train commute, got up early, or stayed up later after the rest of their family went to bed. Find what works for you and train yourself to expect to write at that time.

Dedicate yourself to the art and business of writing. You must learn both. Not learning the business side dooms your writing to being a hobby, not a career. You must learn the rules for your kind of fiction, including word count, POV, and structure. Learn how to approach an agent, publisher, and audience.

There are an endless number of ways to write a novel. You can only learn how YOU write a novel by writing a novel. Learn how others approach it and from them develop your own. You can expect to write and throw away your first three novels. Use them as a training ground. Fan fiction or mimicry is a good start for practicing. My first novel was an Ann Rice knockoff, and you will never ever read it. While mimicking others, your goal must be to find your own voice in the end. Another good way to build your skill and an audience is by writing and submitting short stories. As a Sci-Fi writer, I have a lot of places I can submit short stories. I’ve even built a relationship with a contest and a magazine. You can too.

While you are developing your skills and knowledge, I recommend you BUILD YOUR PLATFORM NOW. Have a website, blog, email list, and social media presence including sites like GoodReads and NaNoWriMo. Become a member of the writing and reading community, attend conventions, and join groups so you will have the connections you need to let the world know you wrote a book. The best way to be a part of a community is to contribute to it. I contribute through my On Writing and Little Creative Interview pages. I also have a YouTube channel for animated readings of my published short stories and for writing advice. My newsletter provides writing news, contest news, and links to the latest from me (including this post).

In addition to learning the art and business of writing, be a generalist, a curious intellectual who feeds on knowledge. The more you know the more you can write about. My head is full of random information that feeds into my stories. Learning has never been easier than now. Writer’s Digest, YouTube, book forwards, and reference material like the Emotions Thesaurus are waiting for you. And once you’ve learned it, RELEARN IT ALL, especially the business side of writing. Tastes and standards change so stay pugged into what tropes are overdone or how query letter writing has changed, amongst other things.

And above all else, you can’t win if you don’t play. So, once you write something and polish it to the best you can make it, SUBMIT!

Your Success Stories: Victoria Liiv

About:

I was born as a second daughter to a loving and caring mother, when she was 19 years old. Although she was struggling at the time I consider my childhood a very happy one. We were living in a three room apartment in the capital city of Estonia for the longest time. During that period we tried our hands in caring for pets, we had a turtle and a cat at one point, but neither of them stayed with us for very long (due to no fault of ours, I still dare to think!) There was a time we moved around a lot, until we settled into a semi-detached house with a big garden. I always wanted a dog and it was a perfect place for one, instead I managed to bring home a rabbit, who enjoyed hopping on the grass as much as a dog would have!

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Your Success Stories: Gordon Clark

About:


I began my working life by joining the British Army at the tender age of 16 and qualifying as an
avionics engineer. The forces exposed me to many things, including sport and travel, two things that
stayed with me throughout life.
Leaving the army at 30, I joined a German manufacturing company, moving through technical
management to sales, and spending more time than ever on travel, something I didn’t complain
about!
I’ve always loved the written word and tried my hand at it in various ways over the years before
eventually completing my first book in 2013. Gone on to complete another 7, with the next one now
in the edit phase. My books tend towards what I would call ‘action-fiction’ and I try to weave my
military and travel experiences into them.

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Imagining Other Worlds

Have you ever wondered ‘what if’? What would my life look like today if I’d ___? What if I had been popular instead of an awkward nerd in High School? What if… is a question full of infinite possibilities. Writing allows us to explore this question and unpack how we are shaped by things that happen to and around us. With each exploration of causality an entirely new world is formed. Sometimes the smallest most seemingly insignificant choices are the ones that make the biggest difference in our lives. This is why I love dystopian stories.

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Your Success Stories: Trana Mathews

About:

I’m Diane Hildebrandt; Trana Mathews is my pen name. A limited edition of my third great-grandfather’s diary was published in 1932. When I read it as a teen, I found it fascinating and thought someone should write a novel, never dreaming I’d be the one to do it!

After I retired and moved to beautiful southeastern Arizona, an online friend suggested I try writing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I decided to participate by writing my family history and managed to meet the monthly word goal, but my first book was far from finished. It needed a lot more research and fact checking. The following year I again joined NaNoWriMo, added another 50,000 words, and still wasn’t done. My initial novel metamorphosed into a trilogy, a family saga of three books.

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Your Success Stories: Amy L. Bernstein

About

Can’t take “no” for an answer. Learning the definition of “faith” is ignoring the odds. Pushing the boulder up hill, every day. Trying scary new things. Writing because I must, not because I can.

These are the reasons why I have three traditionally published novels coming out between 2021 and 2023.

Getting even to this point: That’s the real story.

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