Letter to Three-Years-Ago Me
In revising Asylum, I am taken aback by how much I've learned since it was published. To be terribly clever and to impress myself, I've written a letter to the young writer I was three years ago...
Hey, kid! How's life? Let's see...you're in the midst of preschool and diapers right about now, aren't you? Crazy days. They do get better, I promise. Just wait.
Oh, and congratulations on getting your first book published! That's awesome! I know you're really excited, but I want to give you a bit of a reality check. You're not a superstar yet. Just because you learned how to string some words together in a legible sentence doesn't make you a New York Times bestseller. So hold your horses, all right?
I've been reviewing your book, and while it's a pretty solid story line, I have some advice...
Quit trying so hard.
We don't need to know every little movement your characters make. Give us the basics. Let our imaginations figure out the rest. And along those lines, you don't have to repeat character motivation for things they say or do. We get it. The words or actions are enough.
Our language is full of great words, but there's also a lot you don't need in writing. Ditch that, just, very, really, rather, and any variations thereof. I'm sure you'll stumble across a few more as you continue to learn and refine your craft.
You've built a cool universe for your story, and while you want some things to be different, you don't have to alienate us. (Ha! See what I did there?) It's okay to pull in familiar items. And when you make up terminology for your world, you don't have to show it off. Sprinkle the seasoning lightly. Too much ruins the meal.
Fragmented sentences can be fun. And packed with meaning. And it's perfectly all right to use them.
One line paragraphs, too.
I know you're going to do well, kid. You may not sell a whole lot, but stay true to who you are and to your stories. There's a reason you're writing them. May not be for the masses, but there are those who support and love your work. Do it for them. The rest will fall into place.
Chin up. And knock 'em dead.
I'll be writing a lot about Asylum over the coming weeks, as I'm preparing to launch the new version. Stick with me.
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Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3