Author Bonnie Hearn Hill (& book giveaway!)
Today, we have a special treat! Author, Bonnie Hearn Hill offers tips for young writers in her guest post: “Six Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Out.”
Bonnie will be popping in to answer your questions! PLUS – by leaving a comment or question today (March 16) you have a chance to win the first book in her new Star Crossed Teen series: Aries Rising. ALSO!!! Scroll to the bottom for instructions on entering to win an iPod Touch. Yep, we’re all about the prizes today. Cha-ching!
Winner of Aries Rising will be announced tomorrow (Wed., 3/17)
Six Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Out
By: Bonnie Hearn Hill
1. There’s a reader out there. Writing isn’t about you, the writer. It’s about the character’s relationship with the reader. If you want to write a journal, that’s fine. You might even steal pieces of it for your “real” writing. But they are not one and the same. (Another thing I wish I’d learned is not to use orphan quotes the way I just did around the word, real.)
2. To avoid the nasty little habit of using myself as my main character just because it’s “easier.” It’s not. Readers want protagonists who are 1. proactive and 2. sympathetic. Create a character who is larger than life, someone far different from yourself. When you do this, who you are and what you believe will become clear on the page.
3. Don’t preach. Yeah, I know it’s tempting, but it doesn’t work. Readers read for four reasons: to be informed, to be instructed, to be entertained or to be inspired. The more of these tasks you accomplish, the more readers you will touch.
4. Guard your feelings. Not everyone will support your writing. Some will want to steal your time or be overly critical of your creation. Think of yourself as playing strip poker in world full of people who are dressed. Share only with those you trust, and don’t listen to anyone who tries to destroy your dreams.
5. Focus. I wish I’d learned this far earlier. Writing that succeeds is focused. Writing that falls short is not. In nonfiction, I ask myself: Who is my reader, and what do I want to tell this person? In fiction, I ask: Whose story is this, and what does this person want?
6. You don’t have to write what you know. Have you ever ridden in a spaceship or tried to escape a monster? That doesn’t mean you can’t write about a character who does. Unzip your skin, step into your character’s skin and just imagine.
Write your passion. That is the only true rule.
The Star Crossed Series
Aries Rising, March 2010
Taurus Eyes, Summer 2010
Gemini Night, Fall 2010
Your chance to free books–and maybe an iPod Touch
The Aries Rising Blog Tour & Book Giveaway continues through March 31. Destinations will be posted daily, and a free copy of Aries Rising will be given away at each one. At the conclusion of the tour, a drawing will be held for an iPod Touch. No purchase is necessary. You can enter as often as you wish, and you can qualify in three ways. 1. Be an Aries. Just send your birth date (month and day) to firstname.lastname@example.org. 2. Write a review and post it anywhere. Send the link to the same address. (More work, I know, and I appreciate all of you who have taken the time to spread the word about my astro series). 3. Post a fan badge on your Facebook page and send the link to above address.
Bonnie Hearn Hill worked as a newspaper editor for 22 years, a job that, along with her natural nosiness, increased her interest in contemporary culture. Prior to her new Star Crossed series from Running Press/Perseus Books, she wrote six thrillers for MIRA Books, as well as numerous short stories, nonfiction books and articles.
An interest in astrology along with her close friendship with Cosmo Magazine Astrologer Hazel Dixon-Cooper inspired the Star Crossed series: Aries Rising, Taurus Eyes, and Gemini Night.
A national conference speaker, Bonnie founded The Tuesdays, a bonded and successful writing workshop in Fresno, California, and she also teaches an occasional online class. On Fridays she meets with her private critique group (humorous astrology author Hazel Dixon-Cooper, prescriptive nonfiction writer Dennis C. Lewis, mystery novelist Sheree Petree, and musician/thriller novelist Christopher Allen Poe). What happens in those groups ranges from spontaneous applause to “getting filleted,” as Bonnie’s students and colleagues call it.