If you had one sentence of advice to give to a new writer what would it be?

Mine is: Never EVER forget to proofread.


To borrow from my favorite author, Peter Watts:


"Anyone who *can* be discouraged from writing, *should* be."


And I do tell new writers that, and follow it up with: "So become someone who *cannot* be discouraged from writing."


Be open to constructive criticism, it will help you become a better writer.


I like what Patrick above quoted a lot. Pretty similar to what mine would be: don't stop writing.


Adding to David's advice:


Read.


Damn that's really powerful Patrick


Get to the f'in point!


If you want to be a writer, start writing. Not planning, not thinking or day dreaming, start writing and don't stop.


At some point you'll work in the self reflection and growing skills, but none of that matters if you're not writing.


Somehow, I feel like Zephy's advice is directed at me. :(


Write what you want to see written.


Do it, rather than regret not doing it.


Write what moves you.


I have one, and it's the reason I generally write first person. It's an emotional journey.


Writing is characters tackling problems, make one of them yours.


"You don't have to be perfect."


To expand a little- I think that's the biggest problem most would-be writers I know have... it's not that they don't want to write, an it's not that they don't have good ideas- it's that they're too afraid of making a mistake to even try in the first place. Besides, it's pretty much Micheal Jordan's mantra, so it has to be good for something, right?


If I had to give a writer advice, I would tell them to be ready for it, emotionally.


Something to the effect of, "You'll get used to the loneliness and rejection, but make sure you want to."


If writing a scene is boring or doesn't cause emotion within you, it probably won't do anything for other readers, cut it.


LOL Chrysalis, it's not. It's directed at myself and every writer. It's the main thing I struggled with for soooooo long (and still do). Also, because I have a background in screenwriting and like to structure stories from a screenplay point of view (hence why my writing is so sparse on details), screenplay writing is all about getting to the point because you only have 10 script pages to introduce your characters and setup their dilemma. To be honest, my other piece of advice to writers is learn to write a screenplay. They honestly have story down MUCH better than novelists.


Write strong characters.


Oh well, I'll take it to heart anyway. :) I also like TanaNari's advice - seeing and being horrified of all the possible mistakes I can make is probably what blocks me down the most.


Here's another piece of advice in the spirit of the thread:


*drumroll*


Forget books that teach you how to write, and just write instead.


Don't compare yourself to other writers, especially ones doing well.