Tuesday, 3 February 2015

CWISL Author Sara Grant Offers Her Top Tip for Writers

To be a writer, you definitely need a wild and wacky imagination. And sure, you have to know about plotting and pace. You’ll need to create characters that seem to leap off the page and describe your setting so readers can see, hear, taste, touch and feel it.

But if you want to be a published author, you’ll need to learn how to deal with rejection. I suppose it’s the same no matter what goal you pursue. C.S. Lewis said: “Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.”

So rejection isn’t a bad thing. It gives you an opportunity to improve.  

Every writer has many, many stories that were rejected or never even submitted. Don’t be afraid of failure – when it comes to writing, there’s really no such thing. Every story is a brave, bold adventure. Learn from every story you write and read.

I always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story when I was eight years old. It was a silly tale of how I got to meet my favourite movie star. It wasn’t great literature, but during the course of the story, I had a wish fulfilled: I was friends with this person I admired. After that, I was hooked. I had the power to take myself on amazing imaginary adventures.

I wrote short stories and novels. Love stories and scary stories. I wrote poems and epic sagas. In 1994, I started to send my stories to publishers – and collected loads of rejections. But I didn’t let that stop me. I knew I just had to keep trying and learning. I went back to school and earned a master’s degree in creative and life writing. And collected more rejections until – at last – I found the right story for the right publisher. It took me seventeen years of writing and rejection and learning and trying again and experimenting and most of all believing in myself and my stories before a book with my name on the spine appeared on bookshelves.

So when asked about my top tip for writers, I say, be tenacious!

Keep experimenting and playing with your writing. You may be surprised at the style or genre of writing that suits your abilities. Keep reading – not just ‘how to’ books but read the type of books you wish you’d written. Read the classics and the best sellers and everything in between. Read in the genres you like and the ones you don’t. Learn from the wealth of amazing books on library and bookstore shelves. Check out and support new writers on web communities like Wattpad and Figment.

But most of all -- enjoy writing your stories, believe in yourself and never, ever give up!


Sara Grant has written two teen novels -- Dark Parties and Half Lives -- and a funny series for young readers -- Magic Trix. For more information about Sara and her books, visit www.sara-grant.com or follow her on Twitter @AuthorSaraGrant