Writing a book is a lot like having a baby. The process requires a lot of sweat, blood, and maybe a few tears. But in the end, you’re left with a beautiful baby, er…book. You want what’s best for that precious piece of you. And just like when you have a baby, everyone is eager to offer advice. Unfortunately, no one agrees on anything.
Oh sure, some of the advice makes sense. Put diapers on baby’s bottom, not head. Check. The problem comes in when one person insists painting the baby’s room green will have a disastrous effect on the baby’s psyche, while a second touts that color as brain food. So who’s right? The answer lies within you, grasshopper.
The truth is, just like a parent, you as a writer will need to wade through advice handed out by teachers, critique partners, and relatives. Although their opinions are important and their suggestions can take you down great paths, always keep in mind you can’t please everyone. What’s important is that you please yourself. Write the stories you love.
A tip on brainstorming ideas:
Whenever I’m stuck, I make lists. Let’s say you’re trying to figure out what’s unique about your hero’s mother. Start making a list (she has no eyebrows, she smacks her lips when she chew gum, she smells like cat litter). No matter how weird the ideas get, keep going until you hit at least 25. By the time you reach the end, you’ll be thinking outside the box and the real gems will come through.