Panel featuring Young Writer Mistakes from the Backspace conference

Here is some awesome writing advice from the Backspace Conference in a panel featuring Jessica Anya Bleu, Keith Cronin, Jael McHenry, and Leora Skulkin-Smith. The panel was actually about creating characters, but my favorite parts were the ones I listed here.

All you young writers out there- take note! Here are some common young writer mistakes:

1) Stereotyping- sometimes young writers have a tendency to comment on the character rather than let them become real.

2) Too much physical stuff up front.- Readers fall in love with the character’s voice, not what they look like!

3) Sometimes new writers broadcast information about themselves- Get rid of your ego!

4) Don’t revenge-write (stick your real enemies in your book as fake enemies). Love all of your characters.

How do you write someone that’s not you?

The same way you write situations you’ve never been in- if you’ve been trapped in an elevator, you can write trapped in a space ship.

Transform yourself- play the actor and put yourself in their position. You know their backstory, their flaws, their strengths. Just find those things and write from that place.

Don’t be afraid of dark places.

And one of my favorite take-aways ever:

YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO PUT DOWN WRONG STUFF IN ORDER TO MAKE IT RIGHT.

And my other favorite:

BE OPEN TO EVERY INTERRUPTION!

“What does that mean, Laura?” you ask.

Let me answer you with the story that one of the writers (Jessica Anya Bleu, maybe?) said: If you’re on a trip to Italy you may have the whole trip planned out. But partway through you get lost in a really cool part of the city and end up dancing in the fountain. Forget your plan and dance in the fountain! It’s the same with your book- you may have the whole thing mapped out, but if your characters decide to stop and dance in the fountain, let them stop and dance in the fountain!

Best advice you ever got…?

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6 thoughts on “Panel featuring Young Writer Mistakes from the Backspace conference

  1. Patricia Miller says:

    Awesome post, Laura. Great stuff! I’m gonna keep this one in my inbox and look at it regularly. Best advice I ever got was: Don’t be afraid to tackle controversial topics. If you’re going to write, why be ordinary?

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