Folks, it was my intention last night, at the FWA meeting, to relay a few pointers I picked up from listening to Russ Heitz’s Internet Radio Interview on January 27, 2009. We know that Russ is an extraordinary writer with his works encompassing many different genres. So, when the Interviewer asked Russ what advice he would pass on to new writers, I listened.
Russ advised that all new writers should always work with a detailed outline. I tried to skip this part when I sat down to write a children’s chapter book. I was anxious to start writing. I prepared a brief outline. Not good, fellow beginners. When Russ says “detailed,” he is saying it for a reason. After I wrote three Chapters, I found I was floundering. Why? I jumped from one scene to another, leaving out important details that were needed for transition. So, it was back to the drawing board for me – I spent trillions of hours developing that “detailed” outline, the effect of which sent me flying through chapters.
Prompted by the interviewer, Russ relayed that the hardest part of writing a book is getting through the initial First Draft and that the “fun part” is the rewriting. Yup – that First Draft is a killer. Novices must understand this. If they do, they will not give up, as so many do. I rewrote six times and, guess what novices, it is fun. Never in a million years, after writing that First Draft” did I think I would have fun. I dreaded the thought of having to go back and make changes. I didn’t think I had it in me, was capable of offering anything else. Once I began, though, and saw that changes improved the flow, I took off like a bat out of “that fiery place.” And, I had fun.
Russ then told the Interviewer that the biggest hurdle a new writer must face is rejection. I'd read this over and over again in all those “How To” books. To hear a writer as prominent as Russ say this, substantiated those words – making them credible. Yes, we must be prepared for the obstacles that our established authors warn us about.
Just one more important piece of information that Russ conveyed to the interviewer regarding marketing literature. Russ said (maybe not word for word), “Used to be you would write (and that’s it). The publisher would publish. Publishers today now want you to get out there and market your own book.” I was flabbergasted to hear this. I knew this was true of Independent Publishers, but not Traditional. Unfortunately, I see a future where those with creative talent will have to suppress that talent because it will be impossible for them to put the proverbial “food on the table.” Writing takes an enormous amount of time; selling takes more. Only the chosen few authors will be able to make a living from their talent. The rest of them will be left only with their dreams.
Reality – we must succumb to it and then work with it to our best advantage. We all can do this – “Yes we can” because we have the best resource of all to teach us how – The Florida Writer’s Association. As Russ explained to the Interviewer, this organization is all about “writers helping writers.”
You're amazing, Russ. Thank you! Your Interview helped me and I now hope these few points from your interview will help others.
Linda M. Malloy
Schedule and Location
Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. Meetings are held the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Nokomis Fire Station, located just a few blocks south of Albee Road (where Matthews-Currie Ford is located) at Pavonia Road. We are on the west, or bay side, of U.S. 41, by the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are just north of Dona Bay. Turn on Pavonia and pull to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room on the far side of the complex. Gathering time: 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten minute break: 8:00 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm