Jump to content


Welcome to Gay Authors

Confused? Check out our FAQ guide to using Gay Authors. I am here to ... Read Write Socialize

If you need assistance, click  Contact Us  on the bottom of all the pages. You can remove this help box by  Signing In  or  Creating An Account  for free today!





New Author Advice #2

Posted by , February 15, 2017 · 311 views

Writing Tip Author Advice Mikiesboy Carlos Hazday jamessavik

Have you thought about writing your first story, but it seems a little daunting? Don't worry, every new author has been there at one point or another. Thankfully, you're part of a great community that has plenty of authors willing to share their knowledge, and/or what they wished they'd known when they first started. If you're thinking that you've heard that before, it's because you have, but that's the best intro to this feature. Back in December we first introduced the "New Author Advice" feature and it seemed to be well received. So let's take a look at what advice our site authors have this time.

 

 

 

Building Readership & Criticism

Mikiesboy

 

Ok... building readership... read others work, comment/review, be active in forums, say hello to people be friendly. That's what I did. Works from my experience. It can't be a one way street. And reply to people who comment. They took the time to read your work, you should do the same in return.

 

Criticism? Well that can be hard to take, depending on how it's written and the kind of person you are. If you're unsure, ask the person who commented what they mean. I've not experienced any sort of mean-spirited criticism on GA. Most people are pretty helpful and thoughtful. At least the ones I've met.

 

You can also use the Your Status thing to advertise .. but I don't personally.

 

 

 

Feedback

Carlos Hazday

 

Encourage readers to give you honest feedback. Reviews pointing out what they liked are great, but the ones where they tell you what they didn't like are even better in my opinion.

 

If you want to make your stories the best they can be, knowing what didn't work for readers is a priority. If you react badly to criticism, you may miss out on great advice, your writing may suffer, and in the end you could end up losing readers when your style stagnates.

 

 

 

Before You Start

Jamessavik

 

First, read a lot. Read a lot of different authors, different genres and different styles. Read with an eye towards not just the plot but, the craft in which the story is developed. You will see that some authors do a great job in this respect while others- not so much.

 

Second- Start with short stories. They can teach you a great deal. Unlike a novel, you can't wander around for a 40,000 words to make a point. Short stories require a certain discipline to do them well. You have to balance things very carefully with an economy of words while providing characterization and description while advancing a plot. Don't expect to master this over a few weekends. It's more art than science. In fact it's a lot like golf. When you are in the zone, you can do great things. If not, you bogey every hole.

 

Finally- before you embark on a novel, learn how to plan it out. We all make the mistake of sitting down at a blank page on the computer, write a great beginning and then hit a wall. There are numerous GREAT but INCOMPLETE novels on the web. Unfortunately several of them are my own. Know where you are going because, if you don't, your chances of getting there are slim.

 

 

 

If you're a current or experienced author and have some advice for newbie authors, send me a PM with your advice and be featured in a future "New Author Advice" feature.

 

If you're a new author, or even an existing author, what questions would you ask your fellow authors? PM me your questions regarding writing and if there is enough interest, we'll start a new feature where I post your questions for the various site authors to give their opinion. You can choose to remain anonymous if you'd like.






Lots of good advice - also for authors who are not newbies. :yes:

 

Where do I find #1 of this topic?

https://www.gayautho...uthor-advice-1/ I used the Author Advice tag to find all items with that tag :)
Lots of good advice. Myself, if I want to share something with an author, I usually PM them, especially if they are new. I don't want to post some things in the comments, because they are permanent, and that can hurt someone new especially.

James makes a great point ... some planning is often a good thing. Me, I don't post until the story is complete because I cannot write under 'I need a new chapter each week' kind of pressure. But I do edit and work on chapters right up to posting time.

I also like finishing a story before I start posting it. Mostly because I usually end up going back to earlier points in the story to make major plot edits, and I can't do this if previous chapters are already posted. 

 

I also agree with Carlos about reviews highlighting what didn't work. Constructive criticism, given politely and with respect, is really useful for learning and developing as a writer. I'd like to get more of those on my stories. 

I think building trust is what it's all about. 

 

Posting regularly (weekly, bi-weekly) on a schedule that readers can follow really helps.  Or letting readers know the author is taking a break but will be back on such-and-such date boosts both trust and anticipation of a new chapter.  That requires planning on the author's part. 

 

Posting stories which follow the rules of grammar and spelling to the point that errors are rare (there will always be something) shows readers that the author cares about the work they are producing enough to take the time to present it in the best possible way.  After all, if the writer doesn't care, why should the reader? 

 

Finally, I can't stress enough: Finish what you start!  Nothing violates the author-reader relationship more than an incomplete story.  When there is trust, there is nothing more rewarding and beautiful than the writer-reader relationship.

I know that comments are more precious than gold to me. I try to comment where I read. Unfortunately my time is so limited that I often have to make a choice to write or read, but not always both.

 

I've already fallen into the trap of posting chapters before finishing a story, mostly because I didn't know any better when I started here. So, for all the new prospective authors out there I'd seriously consider finishing your stories before posting them here. I am now stuck releasing things when I can which is not always weekly. It's usually monthly and it depends on my schedule and where the story needs to go. As such, I've lost a lot of readership which hurts. To those who have stuck with me, be assured I will finish all of my works.

 

Let me be an object lesson in what not to do if I can't offer any other advice.

 

Persevere regardless.

 

:heart: 

I agree with all the great advice, and especially the reading part. Read with the added goal of learning. It doesn't mean you can't enjoy what your perusing... it just means you will gain a lot by reading with a more observant eye. With a little practice, you'll start to notice different things: what you like and what you don't, and the style that gets the best response from you. And, you need to research. Take advantage of those who know more about the art of writing than you do, whether it is from people on site, or outside articles. It seems a never-ending process, but you have to study all that comprises the craft. Things like grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, points of view, active/passive voice, etc, etc, etc. That said, the most important aspect of writing for me is putting the work in. Writing, good writing, is not easy. We can't write something and be immediately satisfied. Personally, I'm never satisfied, and I constantly go over my work again and again. Right up until I post, I'm making changes, and what really helps me is putting it away for a while. Fresh eyes are invaluable, and I'll see flaws the next day that I wouldn't otherwise. Speaking of fresh eyes, use an editor or beta reader or both. My editor is INVALUABLE. Whenever I read subpar writing, I can pretty much bet there is no editor. Having one, besides the obvious benefits, will also give you confidence as you start this new journey. Right away, you have someone in your corner.

As daunting as it all may seem, it is well worth the effort. Good luck... go ahead... be a storyteller, and remember we have always played an intrinsic part in the advancement of civilization :)  .  

Like the first installment, I find that I'm at least heading in the right direction. Even if there's little public evidence of it so far. ;) My editor swiftly restrained me from starting to post one of my stories, even though I was itching to. Invaluable advice. I'm not sure I'll be able to contain myself right up to completion, but certainly, the end will have to be in sight before I risk it.
Hopefully my criticism isn't too harsh. I often wonder, because I often try to be honest in my comments, but I wonder if I'm too "enthusiastic" about it. I know I've probably mellowed out a bit on here from my comments on certain stories when I was a newer member. Skinnydragon once told me I could be brutal, but he said he loved it. So I figured I'm not too bad. I know I try to be constructive, and to offer encouragement, even if the story doesn't work for me right away.

So hopefully any authors on here don't get discouraged if I say what doesn't work for me in a review. But everyone should learn from Carlos, he's the best at taking criticism. My very first review for his CJ saga was somewhat harsh, for something in the early chapters of the story that bugged me. Carlos took it all in stride and his only hope was that I give the story a chance to grab me. I did, and of course it's become one of my favorite stories on the site.

Remember, if you have advice for new authors, send me a PM. I can't continue the feature without the help of our site authors!

I cannot agree more with Squirrel and Gary. Any story can always use another set of eyes. One of my HUGE pet peeves, as a reader, is reading a great intro paragraph, anticipating a wonderful new story to dive into, only to be disappointed because it's clear the author never passed English 101 in elementary school, never mind high school!

 

If an author is not good with English (an ESL author or even a native speaker), then PLEASE get an editor! I've given up reading quite a few stories that have grammar, punctuation (or lack of it), spelling issues, etc.. There are way too many wonderfully well-written authors on here who write magnificent stories for me to be grimacing every time I see an error written by an author who doesn't care to take the time to make sure their chapter is as perfect as it can be.

 

As Squirrel said: 'After all, if the writer doesn't care, why should the reader?' Amen to that! :)

 

Ok, getting off my soapbox now! :P

 

(Is what I said even relevant to this feature? :lol)

I agree with Lisa, completely. When I had my editor they were a godsend to me, but unfortunately I lost them because of the workload.

 

I have since had trouble getting another one.

 

Again, I blame myself. I fear editors even though I know I shouldn't. I have to be careful to balance my need for excellence with my confidence to go on. I think many new writers find the tension between these two things difficult to manage. I suppose that is what separates a successful author from everybody else. But fear of failing is the author's bane and the editor holds the power to help an author through this or kill them creatively, hence the fear.

 

So, I suppose a suggestion for a next segment of this invaluable series would be 'How to attract and keep an editor'. 

I cannot agree more with Squirrel and Gary. Any story can always use another set of eyes. One of my HUGE pet peeves, as a reader, is reading a great intro paragraph, anticipating a wonderful new story to dive into, only to be disappointed because it's clear the author never passed English 101 in elementary school, never mind high school!

 

If an author is not good with English (an ESL author or even a native speaker), then PLEASE get an editor! I've given up reading quite a few stories that have grammar, punctuation (or lack of it), spelling issues, etc.. There are way too many wonderfully well-written authors on here who write magnificent stories for me to be grimacing every time I see an error written by an author who doesn't care to take the time to make sure their chapter is as perfect as it can be.

 

As Squirrel said: 'After all, if the writer doesn't care, why should the reader?' Amen to that! :)

 

Ok, getting off my soapbox now! :P

 

(Is what I said even relevant to this feature? :lol)

 

Lisa and SquirreI I think you both said it very well. :)

 

Please realise I'm not a native English speaking guy.

And it was only after my highschool years I started reading English books a lot.

After highschool end of the 70-ies  I started reading Desmond Bagley, Hammond Innes, Mary Renault, Leon Uris, Wilbur Smith, Ken Follett... And oh yes lots of older science fiction authors like Isaac Asimov , Frank Herbert... for the books were cheap... and I also happened to like them.

But OMG I hated reading the translations in Dutch. And as soon I read one in English I was hooked. So I started buying and reading them in English.

 

As a reader what I certainly do not like is that (as a non native English speaking guy) even I can find errors/typos a lot.

 

Now what I like on Gay Authors best is that there are lots of good stories. Well written and almost professional good edited.

 

Have fun writing (and to the helpers editing... to make them almost perfect).

Recent Entries