Tag Archives: Jennifer R. Hubbard

“Your Mileage May Vary” Guest Post by Jennifer R. Hubbard

The other day, I made the mistake of reading a blog that tends to speak very authoritatively about what authors need to do to sustain a career. I don’t visit that blog often, because it makes me depressed and anxious. Occasionally, I’ve found useful industry information there, but more often I feel doomed, as if I’m “doing it wrong” and have no future. My writing style is not that author’s style. Our genres and audiences are different; our career goals are different. In fact, one piece of advice from that blog made me miserable when I tried it.

Most blogs about writing and publishing acknowledge that “YMMV” (“your mileage may vary”); I try to do that on my own blog. Whether the issue is how active to be online, how to obtain and use feedback, whether to get an agent, whether to self-publish, whether to use a pen name, or whether to outline, most questions don’t have one-size-fits-all answers. If I’ve learned anything from knowing other writers, it’s that there are many, many paths through this business. If there were only one path, one formula that worked for everyone, we’d all be using it and we’d all be rich.

But it’s so easy to get sucked in by authoritative advice, especially when the source is successful in his or her own right.

Of course, the solution to my own problem here is something I said earlier: “Our career goals are different.” Someone may press a map into my hand and urge me to follow the route marked on it. But if the destination is not where I want to go, why on earth would I follow that map? Even when the destination is also mine, I strongly suspect there are alternate routes.

So I really need to stay away from that particular blog. It doesn’t help me. I imagine it helps many other people, and that’s great. One reason I’m not naming the blog is that I don’t think other people necessarily need to stay away from it. Just me.

And in the spirit of this blog post, please feel free to disregard anything I’ve said that is not helpful to you. YMMV.

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Bio:

Jennifer R. Hubbard (www.jenniferhubbard.com) is the author of Try Not to Breathe (Viking, 2012), the story of a boy’s recovery from a suicide attempt, and The Secret Year (Viking, 2010), about the consequences of a secret relationship.

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Biggest Mistakes New Writers Make #3: Nope, you can’t explain yourself. Sorry, not allowed!

At a recent Author’s panel discussion, Jonathan Maberry, Mike McPhail, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jon Gibbs, Jennifer R. Hubbard, and Kristin Battestella discussed the biggest mistakes they believe writers make.

Mike McPhail commented that you CANNOT explain your novel to people.

Think about that. 

What Mike said is that you are not going to be there to explain anything about your novel.  It needs to stand on its own with no questions.  If it can’t stand on its own, you are not going to find a publisher (and remember, he’s a publisher as well as a writer)

I recently read a review from a “self-published” author that said:  “Just get through the first few chapters… you’ll be glad you did.”

I can’t help but wonder if they asked a friend to say that… This is probably why they self-published.  Why would you start your novel out weak?  Personally, if I’m not engaged in the first few pages, the book goes back on the shelf.

I wonder if this person ever had beta readers.

Note:  I would never let a beta-read pass with a bad first page, let alone a bad first few chapters.  That’s like literary suicide in my book.

Make sure your novel can stand on its own, and for goodness sake, if you feel like you have to apologize for your first few chapters CHANGE THEM!

Jonathan Maberry:  www.Jonathanmaberry.com

Mike McPhail:  www.mcp-concepts.com

Danielle Ackley-McPhail:  www.sidhenadaire.com

Jon Gibbs:  www.acatofninetales.com

Jennifer R. Hubbard:  www.jenniferhubbard.com

Kristin Battestella:  www.jsnouff.com/kristin

Biggest Mistakes New Authors Make #2—Jumping the gun- Writing Non-linearly

At a recent Author’s panel discussion, Jonathan Maberry, Mike McPhail, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jon Gibbs, Jennifer R. Hubbard, and Kristin Battestella discussed the biggest mistakes they believe writers make.

Mistake number two was not writing linearly, which means not writing your story from start to finish, beginning to end, without jumping around.

Everyone gets great ideas while they are writing.  When you get one that happens later in the story, do you stop and write it?  I admit, I do this all the time.

To keep yourself moving, have a folder called “revision notes”.  Rather than jumping back to something you wish you wrote, or hopping forward to a great idea you have… place the idea in a “notes folder” so you don’t forget it, and then keep writing.  This will keep you focused on where you are.

I admit I am guilty of this in a big way.  I have whole chapters that are written that will not appear until book five or six, and I don’t have book one published yet… This is why book one probably needed so much editing.

Who else is guilty of this little gem?

Jonathan Maberry:  www.Jonathanmaberry.com

Mike McPhail:  www.mcp-concepts.com

Danielle Ackley-McPhail:  www.sidhenadaire.com

Jon Gibbs:  www.acatofninetales.com

Jennifer R. Hubbard:  www.jenniferhubbard.com

Kristin Battestella:  www.jsnouff.com/kristin

Biggest Mistakes New Writers Make #1 – Avoid the Dreaded Delete Frenzy

At a recent NJ Author’s talk on “Getting Published”, a group of published authors discussed the biggest mistakes they think new writers make.  Boy did they have a long list!

The panel consisted of: Jonathan Maberry, Mike McPhail, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jon Gibbs, Jennifer R. Hubbard, and Kristin Battestella.

As always, I love learning from mistakes others have made, and I truly appreciate them sharing what NOT TO DO.

Rather than making this an insanely long post— and since Friday is now open—

This is going to be my new “Friday Night” slot… Biggest Mistakes New Writers make.

Mistake Number one:

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It is really easy as a new writer to get frustrated, and go on a delete frenzy.  The problem is, the days of crumbling up paper and throwing it into a garbage can are over.  You can’t take your deleted file out of the trash, smooth it out, and look at it again.  Once you delete… it is gone.

Deleting in a frenzy can lead to loss of very valuable work.  Especially if you are really emotional when you are editing (we authors never do that, right?)

Trust me, you may think everything you’ve written stinks now, but you may find you need to refer back to part of it later.  Even if you don’t use it, it is part of your back story, and you may need to review it to keep your story consistent.

The Author Panel suggested keeping a side file and don’t actually delete anything. Just drag and drop.  If you never want to see it again, just don’t open the file.  But if you do—

From my own experience, I know I always change my mind.  There is a huge scene near the end of my novel where one character gets his memory back.  I have re-written the scene five times, and they are all dramatically different.  You know where I landed?  With my very first draft.  I was putting so many plot twists and turns in the revisions that the scene became confusing.  I did need to re-write it a little, but I stuck with my original idea.  Believe me, a year later, I was glad I had a copy to refer back to.

Avoid the dreaded Delete Frenzy.  Make a cozy little file. Call it a nasty name if it makes you feel better.  Someday, you may thank me.  🙂

Jonathan Maberry:  www.Jonathanmaberry.com

Mike McPhail:  www.mcp-concepts.com

Danielle Ackley-McPhail:  www.sidhenadaire.com

Jon Gibbs:  www.acatofninetales.com

Jennifer R. Hubbard:  www.jenniferhubbard.com

Kristin Battestella:  www.jsnouff.com/kristin