What advice would you give budding writers?
My advice is to remain curious. Observe and explore.
Observe how people talk to each other. A mother uses certain words with her child that she doesn’t use with her husband. One would hope so. This is what linguists call register. Ask yourself, Why those words? Above all things, language communicates, so don’t be quick to judge. Remain curious. Take, for example, African-American speech. Pick up a copy of John McWhorter’s Talking Black and you’ll learn that what was perceived as improper English is descended from an earlier form of spoken Scots English used by white people, or it could be nuanced code.
Be curious and read outside of your comfort zone. Say you want to write historical fiction, a story set in nineteenth-century Manhattan. Research will certainly help, but so will reading fantasy literature. Manhattan may not have dragons, but a fantasy writer can teach you a thing or two about world building.
Curiosity will embolden you to take chances and develop compassion. Read and write about Hasidic Jews, a gay character, or someone who is transgender. Find the common ground of humanity, especially when the view of the world differs from your own. You’ll learn something about them and about yourself.
Be curious about what offends you and understand why, whether it’s a political view or ways of living alien to you. Empathy does not mean you agree. To refuse to read an author because the author is racist or sexist does not mean that the author doesn’t use language well or deliver a compelling story. Separate biography from the work.
Style. Writers worry about this as much as they worry about whether they have talent. I’ve found that other people will recognize what is characteristic about your use of language. It’s best not to worry about it. Just write. Nothing makes a story fall flat faster than a writer writing for effect. Set aside your ego and sit down and write. If you think you’re a genius, there’s a strong likelihood you aren’t.
Be receptive to criticism. There are times when you think what you wrote is there on the page, but it isn’t. Listen to someone other than your friends and family, and hear What works and Why something doesn’t work. What is on the page must work long after you’ve left the room and this life. Accept the fact that you will never please everyone.
Know when to let go. You may cringe at what you wrote ten years ago. I do. This is a sign that you’ve grown as a writer.
My final word is Don’t Give Up. Write what you want to write about and ignore trends. You will have days when you feel great, days when you think you suck, but if you are a writer, truly in love with telling a story, you’ll find yourself back at the desk, at the keyboard. Rejections don’t mean you’re terrible; they mean that the editor is a person with an opinion. Rejections mean you tried.
Try again. Stay curious.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Book Title: The Company Files: 1. The Good Man by Gabriel Valjan
Category: Adult Fiction, 251 pages
Genre: Thriller, Historical Fiction, Crime Fiction, Espionage
Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing
Release date: December 2017
Tour dates: Feb 12 to March 2, 2018
Content Rating: PG + M (No bad language but there is an attempted rape scene, and some violence.)
In 1948, Vienna was divided among four powers: France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Jack Marshall had served with Walker during the war, and now, working together for The Company, they are tasked to do the inconceivable. Could former Nazis really be recruited to assist the U.S. in the atomic race? As their team moves forward, they quickly discover they are not the only ones looking for these men. And the others in the search may just have the objective of murder.
In this tale of historical noir, of corruption and deceit, no one is who they say they are. Who is The Good Man in a world where an enemy may be a friend, an ally may be the enemy, and governments deny everything?
To read reviews, please visit Gabriel Valjan's Page on iRead Book Tours.
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Meet the Author:
Gabriel Valjan is the author of The Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he enjoys the local restaurants, and his two cats, Squeak and Squawk, keep him honest to the story on the screen.
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Ends March 10, 2018