Thursday, May 2, 2013

Top 10 Things I Wish I'd Known at the Beginning of My Writing Career by Christian Schoon and Giveaway!

Things I Wish I'd Known at the Beginning of My Writing Career

  1. First drafts are just that. Don’t edit as you go. Just write. Get the words out. All of them. Cut the flab and excess wiggly skin off later.
  2. Finish! An unfinished book isn’t any good to you or an agent or a publisher. Finish it. (This is for fiction; non-fiction lets you get away with pitching an idea.)
  3. Beware the familiar metaphor. If you’ve heard or seen it before, might wanna construct new/different.
  4. Your protagonist is your enemy. Be mean. Mock them. Betray them. Abuse them. They’ll thank you.
  5. Details are your friend. Use enough fine-grain detail to make your image concrete for the reader. Use brand names if that helps, ie: “His writing advice was dumb as a box of WalMart discount rocks.” No, not like that but you get my drift.
  6. Saying something once is usually enough.
  7. Avoid repetition (heh).
  8. When populating your science fictional or fantasy realms, resist the impulse to use apostrophesized names to make your alien characters sound alien. Ph’Ut’Lel’Sheeth’a, etc. It’s a cliché. Most SF readers will scowl at the sight.
  9. When populating your SF realms with creatures, details, again, are your friend. Be sure to help your readers see the beasties. Imagine them out in your front yard. You’ve called the cops. How do you describe this gigantic, vaguely reptilian-mammaloid quadruped to Officer O’Malley?
  10. Be wary of “My Top 10 Tips for How to Be a Better Writer” and similar lists… yeah, kinda like this one. These things can be a serious time-suck, so choose wisely. ‘Cause, maybe you should really be writing instead. JMHO, of course :)
Such insightful advice, Christian! Thank you so much for sharing today. Readers, click "Read more" to find out a little more about Zenn Scarlett and to enter an INTERNATIONAL giveaway!

When you're studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school... is a different kind of animal.

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she's learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she's feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn't enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she's started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can't deny what she's feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what's happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she's actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients... or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year...

About the Author

Born in the American Midwest, Christian started his writing career in earnest as an in-house writer at the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California. He then became a freelance writer working for various film, home video and animation studios in Los Angeles. After moving from LA to a farmstead in Iowa several years ago, he continues to freelance and also now helps re-hab wildlife and foster abused/neglected horses. He acquired his amateur-vet knowledge, and much of his inspiration for the Zenn Scarlett series of novels, as he learned about—and received an education from— these remarkable animals and the awesome veterinarians who care so deeply for them.


Thanks to Christian and Strange Chemistry Books, we have one print copy of Zenn Scarlett to give away today, just for Books à la Mode readers! To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below :)

Here's a fun comment prompt for extra entries:

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
I know it's a childish question, but I always find the answers hilarious! I would most closely relate myself to some sort of wildcat, like a leopard or puma—not because I'm fast (dear god no) but because I can be... forceful, and usually I get what I want. My weakness is my rashness; I can be quite reckless at times!

What about you?

Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. One-worded answers or comments only consisting of "thanks for the giveaway" will not be awarded valid entires!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rules and Disclosure:
Giveaway ends May 16th at 11.59 (your time).
Open internationally! Woohooo!
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their prizes will be forfeited.
Although I do select winners, I am in no way responsible for the prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤ Plus, you get extra entries ;)
Good luck!