Saturday, 12 December 2015

Guest Post & Giveaway from Ryan Dalton : The Best and Worst Writing Advice

As part of the Sunday Street Team tour for The Year of Lightning by Ryan Dalton, I have a great guest post from the author himself! I'm very excited to share: The Best and Worst Writing Advice Dalton has Ever Received

When you’re a writer, there’s no shortage of advice on how to do it right. Over the years, I’ve encountered gems of wisdom that changed the way I write and set me on the path to publication. I’ve also heard advice so cringe-worthy that it embarrassed me on behalf of my profession. In fairness, sometimes those distinctions are subjective. What works for some may crash and burn for others. With that in mind, here are the single best and single worst pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received.

The Best
“It’s all about voice.”
This is absolutely true. You can have a good plot and interesting characters, but if your writing voice is flat or overly derivative, few will care how much work you’ve put into the story. Voice is what distinguishes us as having something unique to offer. It’s the style that’s ours and ours alone. This means that writing is less about the nuts and bolts of our story (although those are important), and more about how we present that story to the world. Voice is what reaches out and grabs us, compelling us to keep turning the page.
And the best thing about voice­–you can’t fake it.
True voice, genuine and unique, cannot be manufactured. It comes from years of reading and writing, of love and practice, of absorbing and creating art and adding little pieces of everything to your creative DNA. Voice is the sum total of what we love and who we are. So if I could add a little piece of advice to “it’s all about voice,” it would be “don’t rush finding yours.” Keep working, keep growing, keep experiencing and loving art and literature of all kinds, and it will come to you.

The Worst
“Your first draft will always be terrible.”
When I talk about advice being subjective, this is mainly what I mean. For some writers, this is absolutely true, and hearing this is a relief because it gives them freedom to write that first draft fearlessly. It can be especially good advice for aspiring writers who tend to self-edit so much that they never finish.

So, here’s why it’s the worst advice I’ve ever received–because it’s subjective, but many treat it as absolute truth. It’s often one of the first things people say when offering writing advice, and they say it as if it’s indisputable. However, for writers like me, it’s the farthest thing from the truth, and so much the antithesis of my style that it would be detrimental to my work if I tried to follow it. This advice usually works best for “pantsers,” or those who write by the seat of their pants with no pre-planning, and they find their story along the way. This is a great method if it works for you, but I’m the exact opposite. I’m a heavy
outliner. I’m a linear writer. By the time I sit down to write my books, I know 75% of everything that’s going to happen. Having a plan and a clear direction helps me write with confidence. It frees my mind to be creative in the moment because I know ultimately where I’m going to end up. And because I plan so much, my first drafts are pretty clean. Of course there’s still plenty of editing later, but compared to most pantsers, I end up discarding or rearranging a very small amount of story and word count. That’s how I like to write, and it works well for me, but you’ll never hear me recommend it as the only way to write a story. I suppose that’s the real lesson here. Take every bit of writing advice with a grain of salt until you see how it works for you.

Don’t be afraid to try new things because you never know what may help your writing improve, but don’t be a slave to every tip or piece of wisdom that you receive. Find your own way.
Now, suit up and get writing! Year of Lightning (The Time Shift Trilogy #1) by Ryan Dalton
Goodreads Synopsis:
When 15-year-old twins Malcolm and Valentine Gilbert moved to a new town, they never imagined that the old house across the street could bring them so much trouble. A secret machine has reawakened inside, with the power to pierce time itself.

Meanwhile, lightning storms are breaking out all over town. They’re getting worse every week, and seem to enjoy striking kids who just want to pass science class and mind their own business. When Malcolm and Valentine discover a connection between the house and the storms, their situation goes from mysterious to crazy stupid dangerous. Someone is controlling the great machine, and their purpose is nearly complete.

In a race against time, the twins must uncover the chilling plan, the mastermind behind it, and the force that’s driving the deadly storms. They’ll hunt a powerful enemy that threatens their town’s existence, and the only clues are written in the sky. the Author:
Ryan Dalton is author of the young adult Time Shift Trilogy. His debut novel was released on December 8, 2015. Ryan splits his time between writing books during the day, fighting crime at night, and hanging out in his awesome underground lair. Please do not tell anyone he's Batman. It's a secret.

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