Happy Birthday, Trudi Canavan, born 23 October 1969.
- Write. It’s as simple as that. Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and write.
- Read. Read the genre you write in, so you know what has been done before. Read outside of it as well, because that will give you a fresher, broader perspective.
- Learn. Maintain a constant state of curiosity. Take every opportunity to learn about the world around you. Research other cultures, of now and in the past.
- Read about the sorts of skills your characters would have, but also try them out (so long as it’s legal!).
- I never considered the previous years of writing a waste, but valuable practice that had led me to a point where I could realise my Big Idea with at least some skill.
- Do a writing course. Do a grammar course. No, it’s not the editor’s job to fix your work. Given a choice between a good manuscript with bad grammar and a good manuscript that’s near-perfect, they’ll take the one that’s near-perfect every time.
- Even when you have a great idea, you can reach points where you flounder. Try a writing warm-up. Write a conversation between two characters. Write about a character or event from an unexpected perspective, say, a history lesson told to a child, a character reminiscing many years later, etc.. It doesn’t need to be something that you plan to put in the book, but if it does end up in there, that’s a bonus!
- Keep a writing diary. At the beginning of each writing session, write about what you intend to do, your doubts, what you’re excited about, etc. A writing diary is a great place to work through gnarly plot problems.
- I’m a planner. I like to write out a detailed outline, then divide it into chapter, part and book divisions. Before writing a scene, I write a short description of it. I also like to put together a spreadsheet following the different main characters’ stories, so I can keep track of where the subplots diverge and meet.
- Everyone has different ways of working, and it can be as much fun discovering how you like to go about it as it is writing the book.
Trudi Canavan is an Australian author who writes fantasy novels. She is well known for her best-selling fantasy trilogies The Black Magician (which began with The Magicians’ Guild) and Age of the Five. Canavan’s third trilogy, The Traitor Spy trilogy, is a sequel to the Black Magician Trilogy.
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