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  • Writer's pictureMark Meier

Q&A Tuesday

With Renee LaViness

What are common traps new writers should avoid? Don’t ever think the molds set up for writers aren’t important. You can do your own thing, but try to be respectful of those molds. For children, there are very good reasons they don’t read about this until that age, or they read a lot of repetition, etcetera. Librarians have to guard the incoming books (as much as they can), and because I don’t trust some of today’s writers, I will often read the books I buy for my grandchildren before I will allow them to read their books. How can writers help each other? Join some critique groups (local or online). You don’t have to be a whiz at this stuff. We all start somewhere. If folks make fun of you, find another group or start one. As you listen to the others, you’ll learn what they know and you can share what you know, too. Combining everyone’s knowledge is what a great critique group is about. We all know and see different stuff. Help other writers find good books, workshops, webinars, conferences, etcetera. Travel together to keep conference costs down. Get the one with the cleanest driving record to drive everyone there, and then share rooms. We all snore. Get over it. Set rules that everyone can agree to, regarding dress codes in the room, trash, clothing storage, bathroom cleanliness, etcetera. Anyone who can’t agree to do their part can pay for their own room.

What writing resource gives the best value for the money? NaNoWriMo – It’s free and everyone should seriously try it at least once. There are multiple lessons to be learned from writing without editing, writing whatever drops into your head until the story returns, etcetera. You can compete against yourself or against your friends. Or, you can just focus on writing the same amount of words (or more) every day until it becomes an iron-clad habit. Also, the website is great for helping you find issues you need to clean up in your work, especially if you’re writing for youth, but it’s great for any writer. What did you do with your first paychecks from writing? I reinvested it—AFTER I took a photo of me holding it for proof. Tell me how you manage your time. Ha! Ha! What does literary “success” look like, and have you achieved it? Having my children and grandchildren asking for more books written by me! No, I haven’t achieved it—YET. What marketing have you done that gives the best results? Speaking to those who understand the need for what I have to offer.

We'll hear more from Renee in a few weeks. Keep checking back for more from people who might turn out to be your favorite author.

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