Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tips to Treasure: Writing Tips with Siri Mitchell

Today we're excited to welcome Siri Mitchell to the Alley. She's brought some fantastic writing tips for us. Siri is the author of both historical and contemporary romance. She writes with an amazing subtlety that simmers beneath the surface. Her most recent novel, Unrivaled, is a sweet escape to the candy world of the early 20th century and has a hero and heroine who are phenomenal!!
Let's see what Siri has to say today:
What are two of the most important writing tips you think authors should know?
1. Respect your process. Because writing is a creative endeavor, every writer’s process is different. Once you’ve figured out how you write, how many words a day you can comfortably produce, what kinds of drafts and how many of them you need, and how many months it takes you to produce a respectable product, do yourself a favor and accept it. That’s not to say you can’t experiment and try different things, but if it takes you six months of writing five hours a day, four days a week to produce a book, then don’t promise anyone a book in three months figuring that you’ll just work extra hard and produce more words every day. That’s a recipe for breakdown!
2. Write it down. When your characters start talking to you, write down what they say. I’ve fallen asleep listening to brilliant conversations between my characters promising myself I’ll remember them and I never have. Your characters talk to you because they have something to say! And they’re kind of like people: they tend to do it at inconvenient moments. Worse, if you ignore them they get offended. And sometimes in retaliation they even give you the silent treatment.
Oh my goodness, Siri, I LOVE these tips. It's so refreshing to hear how we need to respect our process. When we try to write like someone else, or in a different way that doesn't fit our style, it usual ends in tears :-)
(Btw, I totally respect anyone who listens to their imaginary friends)
What is one of your favorite writing quotes and why do you like it? How does it inspire you?
My favorite writing quote isn’t by a writer and it wasn’t meant to pertain to writing, but it inspires me anyway. It’s attributed to Beethoven (see picture). I picked this postcard up at Opera Garnier in Paris and it sits on my desk. It loses a little bit in translation, but here’s what it says: “One day, they’ll like it.” It inspires me to be true to my own voice and own expression as a writer. Just think if Beethoven had decided that he should just write the kind of music everyone else was writing. What wonderful music we all would have missed out on!
Again, what great insight here! This really is about trusting God to bring the stories he's birthing in us to life in His good time. There's always that 'one day' when His plans and our dreams collide. Fantastic thoughts!!!
So AlleyPals and AlleyCats, how well do you listen to your characters?

Leave a comment to have your name placed in a drawing for Siri's historical novel, The Messenger.*******


Jeanne Takenaka said...

Pepper, Siri, what a great post. And I love Siri's advice. I need to respect my process--though I'm still figuring it out. :)

And as for listening to my characters, I always have a composition book handy--even at church, when my characters have been known to argue. :)

Loved this today!

Pepper said...

I loved this too, Jeanne! It was so encouraging and really enforced Rachel's tips from yesterday!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Wow, totally love this interview!! So practical and all about maintaining tour voice and your story. Love, love, love!

karenk said...

Loved this posting...and the quote that Siri shared from Beethoven is so compelling.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com