Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Author Carrie Cross's Advice for Aspiring Writers

Today I have a post from a guest blogger and fellow author. Carrie Cross is the author of the Skylar Robbins teen mystery series. Her first book Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills is available on Amazon, and the second book Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels will be available in November 2014. She has been kind enough to provide some advice for aspiring authors and some of her inspiration for her books. Enjoy!

Carrie Cross's Advice for Aspiring Writers 

In a recent interview I was asked what advice I would give to aspiring writers, and what I use for inspiration, and here are my replies:

Enjoy the writing process and revise, revise, revise. Get as many people as possible to read your manuscript and give you constructive criticism. Don’t just rely on family and friends for feedback. They love you and will tell you your book is great, even if it isn’t.

Find beta readers in your target age group who you don’t know personally. For instance, I asked my account base at work if they had children who would be willing to read my book, Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills, before publication, and emailed the manuscript to those kids. Their feedback was invaluable.

Finally, don’t let rejections from agents deter you from getting published. Self-publish if you don’t get a contract; you’re going to do most of your own marketing anyway. Calvin Coolidge said it best: Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!

I was asked what I use for inspiration when I wrote Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels (Teen Mystery Press, November 2014), my answer was this: I use a game I call, “What if?”. What if my main character, Skylar Robbins, explored a creepy old house and found it had a hidden floor? What would she find when she got there? What if she used an ultraviolet light in the attic and found a secret message written on the wall in invisible ink? What would it say? I like to put my hero in that type of situation and let my imagination go wild.

So my advice to aspiring writers is to interview your protagonist in your mind. Throw him or her into a sticky situation and ask how they would react. What if your main character discovered a tunnel hiding under some leaves in his backyard? Where would it lead? What if someone scary was hiding at the other end of the tunnel? How would he react? What if an unusual classmate begged your hero for a huge favor that was impossible to deny? How would she reply?

Put your characters into a challenging scenario and watch the scene unfold. The outcome may surprise you.

Carrie Coss's Amazon Author Page

Skylar Robbins Blog