During SDSU’s 2015 Writers’ Conference, I was lucky enough to attend some of the workshops run by the lovely Marcy Rockwell and Gini Koch. Marcy has an uncanny way of summing up important advice in neat little phrases. Here are some highlights:
1. Your first idea probably isn’t your best, set it aside then come back to it and twist it
2. Sometimes you don’t know how far a story idea will take you until you start writing.
3. Sometimes an idea isn’t big enough for a novel
4. You have to know the rules before you break them. A new author breaking the rules won’t sell. Every rule out there someone has broken, but this is not recommended for beginner authors.
5. Read enough in your genre, and in general, to know what is a cliché and what is original.
6. Every genre has expectations. In science fiction it’s that something new will be learned about the world
7. Getting bogged down in world building details is a form of procrastination
8. Even with a magical world, you must set rules and obey those rules
9. Third person distances the reader and also the writer from the characters. If you need to get closer try first person.
10. Every character, even minor, is the star of his or her own story.