Hi Susie! I really admire your work, and I was hoping you had some advice for other writers? I wanted to try writing a fic (it'll be my first), so are there any tips you have? (keeping audience attention, character development, etc) Thanks!
Thank you, Lovely. That’s very sweet of you to say.
Find something you are passionate about.
I write conversations the way I hear conversations. People stop in the middle of words, they jump from thought to thought, and I try to make sure I represent that.
Become an observer of people. How their faces change and the way the emotions they’re experiencing register on their faces.
Research and read other authors. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read an emotion and gone “OH SHIT…is THAT how you describe that in words?”
Get a good beta. @chrissy22787 is my favorite person in the world because of how honest she is with me. She is my friend but also a fan and so she approaches what I send her with both of those eyes. She is also always down to talk about my characters like they are real people. Which for me, it doesn’t get any better than that. She’s who I listen to and the ONLY person I change plot points or scenes for. If she suggests it, I weigh it heavily before deciding one way or the other and if I don’t do it (which is rare) I have a good reason for doing so and we discuss that. She also helps with character development when I might accidentally revert someone to something they resolved three chapters ago. Ooops. Sometimes I think she keeps track of my stories better than I do.
Write from experience. The entire story doesn’t have to encompass your experience, but parts of it should. (i.e. I’ve been cheated on. So I knew how Emily’s emotions were guiding her in POU.)
If you would like to tell me your idea when you get one I’d be more than happy to bounce back and forth with you to get some creative juices flowing.
Keeping audience attention is a tough one for me. I’m always concerned that someone is reading a chapter going, “Um…wtf? This sucks.” and they stop reading. I get around that by making sure something significant happens in each chapter. I don’t really write filler, mainly because I don’t like to read filler. Which I guess is the most important lesson I learned…write what you would read yourself. If you won’t read it, don’t expect anyone else to. I read my chapters over at least a dozen times before I post them. Hence why I get so uptight when I don’t have a lot of chapters banked.
Hopefully that helps you out. I wish you good luck. It’s a wild ride.