Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What's the Best Writerly Advice You'd Give Your Younger Self - Kiki Hamilton

This week I have the special pleasure of having my crit partner extraordinaire, Kiki Hamilton, on the blog today! I'm especially thrilled because Kiki's debut book, The Faerie Ring, will be published by Tor Teen this September (look at that beautiful cover)! Having had the excessively good fortune to read this book before it got published, I'm delighted to get to say.... HA HA! I read it first!! I mean, you guys are in for a huge treat! So here's Kiki with some words of wisdom...



Ello - thanks so much for inviting me over to your blog!

The best writerly advice that I have for my younger self or my older self or anybody, for that matter, is ‘don’t give up’. Let me repeat that: DON’T. GIVE. UP.

Write it down. Tape it to your computer, your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, your candy drawer (what? No candy drawer?...not too late to start one… it does help with the stress of a stuck plot / seeking an agent / trying to sell your book…. but I digress…) We all have those moments when we doubt ourselves. But one thing is for sure – if you give up – then there will never be a book with your name on it on your library or bookstore shelf. No one will ever read the brilliant story that only you can create. So - DON’T. GIVE. UP.

This business is a rollercoaster, plain and simple. There should be a big sign on the outskirts of the publishing world that warns new writers: ‘here there be dragons’ , ‘here there be agents who won’t respond for half your lifetime’, ‘here there be editors who say you’re not right for their list’, BUT – if you persevere – if you work at learning the craft of writing, if you read books in the genre you’re writing in, if you study books that you love, if you join critique groups and practice, practice, practice, you will learn to navigate the treacherous waters of the publishing world and arrive safety at your destination, whatever that may be.

Writing is sort-of an ever-moving target. When you first start out you just want to finish your story. If I could write a novel, that would be so cool! And then you do! And then the voice in your head says, If I could just get an agent that would be cool! And then you do! And THEN the voice in your head says ,If I could just sell my book…. and so on and so on. Prepare yourself for a lot of If only’s. But you also have to celebrate every step of the way. LOTS of people talk about writing a book. Few actually ever do it. Even fewer still write a book, then revise it and revise it and revise it again, until they’ve created their best work possible.

And on those days when you’re doubting yourself – because we all have them – go back to the reason you began to write in the first place: Because you have a story you love SO MUCH that you have to tell it, otherwise your characters won’t let you sleep at night.

Once your story is sparkly and shining and the best you can do – then send it out. Maybe you’ll get an agent or an editor right off, maybe you’ll get a few rejections or 100 rejections. Maybe you’ll have to revise or write another story (it was my second novel that sold) but NEVER. GIVE. UP.

I’ll be looking for the news of your sale. Good luck!

Kiki Hamilton believe in faeries. And magic. Though she has a B.A. in business administration from Washington State University and has run a business with her husband for many years, her first love is writing young-adult stories of fantasy and adventure. Kiki lives near Seattle, Washington, where it only rains part of the time. She is a member of the Class of 2k11, the Elevensies and The Enchanted Inkpot. Visit Kiki’s website at
www.kikihamilton.com

9 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I agree. Don't give up. If you can keep getting better, the time will come.

Tere Kirkland said...

Thanks for the interview, Kiki and Ellen. Kiki, just finished TFR and can't wait for the next one!

I'm currently subbing to editors, so I've been trying to avoid that feeling of waiting for the next big thing to happen, to appreciate the now, and keep working. But it always helps to hear that authors in every stage of their careers are going through the same thing. Thanks!

Yahong Chi said...

WHOOT. I believe this advice is directed at myself? *pokes self in chest* Don't give up, you!

Kiki Hamilton said...

Hi Ello!

Thanks for having me over!!! and Tere - I'm glad you liked TFR! It's so weird to actually having people reading it now (besides my awesome crit partners... ;-) Good luck on your subs!

Yes Yahong - I'm talkin' to you! :-)

Erin Bowman said...

"Here there be dragons" <-- I laughed at this, but it's so true. It's a long, hard journey. Sometimes the obstacles seem impossible to face. But face them anyway. And don't give up. Ever.

Smart words, Kiki!

Ava Jae said...

Wonderful post! Truly fantastic advice. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

SP Sipal said...

Such good advice, Kiki. I once heard an author say, there's a difference between those who give up and those who don't....Published! :-0

Kappa no He said...

Wow, what good advice. I like the moving target theory. That is exactly how I feel these days. I can't wait to read her book!

Pippa said...

Thanx for the encouragement, Kiki. Next time I want to give up, I'll scrape my knuckles off the floor and come back to this post. It's kinda embarrassing how often I need to be reminded ... :)

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