When I think back to my early writing – the really early stuff, back when I thought that five pages was long enough to be a novel – I see a gigantic mess. Flat characters, rushed plots, things that little seven-year-old me didn’t think through that are now really creepy (like the fact that one of my characters accidentally had two wives), and fairytale romances. I have a document of those old stories and titled it “The Cheese Factory.”

I can’t save you from cheesy stories or flat characters – and honestly you’ll run into those through your entire writing career if that’s decide what you do, you’ll just grow more equipped to handle them – but I can give you a few starting tips, as someone who’s been there and someone who knows quite a few beginning writers.

1. Know that it’s a commitment

This is the most important. Whether you want to write one book or fifty, (more…)