My guest this week is Mary Pat Hyland, an award winning journalist and author of eight books, including a three-book chick lit series, a parody, a suspense novel, and a family saga . Her latest, In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, is a short story collection inspired by the characters, gossip and local lore of the Triple Cities in upstate New York. In addition to her writing she enjoys Gaeilge—the Irish language, music, dance, gardening, Finger Lakes wines and cooking. Today she’s giving us some good advice about writing.
Be sure to click the link at the bottom of this post to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
Five Pieces of Advice to a Beginning Author
1) Never tell someone the plot of your novel or story until the first draft is completed. Why? We write for an audience and if you get a response from someone and it’s positive, then why bother to do the hard work of writing it. You got the affirmation you needed. I speak from experience, unfortunately.
2) Always have a small notebook or smart phone nearby so that you can jot down story ideas when they occur. Inspiration is capricious and you must grab it like the string attached to a helium balloon, or else the idea will swiftly drift away.
3) Believe in yourself. It’s much easier to say than to put into practice. You will get one-star reviews and harsh criticism from editors. That’s a given. Listen carefully though, sift through it and discern what the correct advice is and do what needs to be done to improve the work. Sometimes, you should ignore both, though. No one on this earth will write the way you do, for your life experiences and influences are unique. Make sure to maintain your voice in whatever you write.
4) Do not become a writer for the sole purpose of creating a bestseller. That’s pretty shallow when you think about it. Write because there’s a story within that needs to be shared with this world. Write because it’s the drive that makes you get up in the morning and makes you curious about everything in the world around you. Write for the sheer joy of creative expression. Write because you have to empty your mind of the chatter from the characters lurking around in your gray matter. Write to live. Write!
5) Read a lot. Read often. Read varying genres from around the world. Read the classics; read pulp fiction. Read poetry; read plays. It is through this process that you will realize what you enjoy, see how other authors approach similar situations and how they define characters through choices of voice and description, learn to recognize characteristics of good writing and do it because it’s a good workout for your brain.
By the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers in New York’s Southern Tier lies a verdant valley called the Triple Cities.
The shoe factories that originally drew thousands of immigrants from across Europe have long moved on.
What remains are the distinct ethnic flavors of a gritty community determined to overcome economic woes, adapt to the rapid changes in society and find true meaning in life.
Consider these eighteen stories as pages ripped from a sketchbook. Some are quick studies; others are more detailed portraits inspired by observed characters, whispered gossip, overheard conversations and the local lore of the residents whose neighborhoods are framed by the gilded Orthodox Church domes that span this valley.
You’ll find that each tale has its own tone: some are humorous or poignant, others are surprising and haunting.
The Author’s eStore
Mary Pat is giving away an autographed copy of In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, six copies of her other ebooks and a piece of original art created by the author. Unfortunately I can’t figure out how to display the Rafflecopter entry form, so please go to: