Friday, November 30, 2007

7 Days With Shirley Jump, Advice for Anyone Who Wants to Write a Novel

Today's the last day of November, of NaNo, and of our 7-day interview with New York Times Bestselling novelist Shirley Jump. She's shared with us her personal techniques and experiences as a writing mother, and even where she gets her ideas!

In December, we can move forward stronger, more determined... certainly less deterred from our goals by the holiday busy-ness ahead of us.

7. What’s your best advice to someone who wants to write a novel?

There are only three ingredients to help you go from wanting to write a novel to becoming a published author: Read. Write. Persevere. You HAVE to read extensively. Absolutely, hands-down, have to read, read, read. Read everything you can get your hands on, not only in your targeted genre, but in other genres. You have to develop a natural inner ear for the rhythm of story construction, for the beauty of language, for the depth of emotion in scenes, etc. You also have to know what your competition is and be able to recognize their strengths, then apply those lessons to your own work. Then you have to write. Write and write and write and write some more. There is no substitute for sitting down at the keyboard and writing. You can read about how to write, you can go to classes that will teach you how to write, but nothing teaches you how to write like WRITING. Then sit back and look at your work objectively, compared to what you read. Learn from those who are better than you. Finally, persevere. 99% of getting from unpublished to published is simply hanging on past the rejections. This is a competitive, crowded industry. You need to want it badly enough to keep on writing. Oh, one more thing, affiliate yourself with other writers. No one speaks the language of writing like other writers. That will help you through the good times and the bad times and help you decipher the language of rejection and revision letters, and know where to go and how to get there!


Thank you Shirley, for spending 7 days with us here!

Note: Really Something is available now for preorder and Miracle on Christmas Eve is in stores now. (I found it at the grocery store the other day and picked up my copy. I can't wait to settle in this weekend for a good read.)


Serenity Now! said...

Shirley, thank you so much for coming by our blog and offering so much GREAT advice!

Carolyn Erickson said...


wordsmith said...

This was such a great series! Awesome job, and thank you!

Sabrann said...

I've really enjoyed this series of interviews - and look foward to the reading the rest of this amazing blog!

FA said...

Thanks Shirley for a great interview, and thanks Carolyn for doing a great job as well!

tgr101 said...

I always find Shirley's words inspiring and motivating. Thanks so much for letting us spend so much time with her!!