Swoon Author Jennifer Honeybourn: Words of Wisdom
My dream, ever since I was in the second grade, was to one day walk into a bookstore and see a book I’d written on the shelves. So when I got the call in March 2015 that Swoon Reads wanted to publish Wesley James Ruined My Life, it was a life-changing moment for me. Now, with the release date just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I got here, and I thought I’d share a few bits of writing wisdom that have really resonated with me over the years.
Read a lot
If you want to be a writer, then you need to read. Seems obvious, right? This is an easy one, at least for me, because I love to read. I read all genres, although I tend to gravitate to YA books.
Write a lot
Whether your thing is writing or basketball or music, if you want to get better at it, you have to practice. I don’t write every day, but I do write a lot. I wrote several novels before Wesley James Ruined My Life, and while those books will never see the light of day, they were the best way to learn how to write a novel. There are also many great craft books out there that can help you develop your novel or just encourage you along the way—one of my favorites is Stephen King’s On Writing.
Develop your voice
If you’re a writer, you’ll hear a lot about “voice.” It’s difficult to define, but essentially it’s your own unique way of telling the story. It took me awhile to figure out that my voice is best suited to YA, and that came after a lot of practice and trying to write in different genres.
Just get the first draft down
I have to remind myself of this one all the time. I often get stuck trying to make the first draft perfect, but I’ve discovered the hard way that this is a waste of time, because inevitably that scene I spent a million hours perfecting will end up on the cutting room floor during revision. Now I try to focus on the plot and characters during the first draft and worry about making it pretty in subsequent drafts.
Share your work
It can be hard to share your novel, but connecting with other writers and getting feedback on your work can only help you improve. Swoon Reads is an amazing community of readers and writers and I received so much great feedback on Wesley James Ruined My Life when I posted it on the Swoon Reads site—and that led me to my book deal.
I hope some of this advice encourages you, no matter what stage of writing you’re at. And I hope, when you’re ready to share your novel, you’ll post it on Swoon Reads!