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November 27, 2006


Lauren B.

Those were great tips!

That last part reminds me of me. Haha, when I read "Do you outline with obsessive detail?" I laughed. That's exactly what I do. As I write my outline, I get so into the bullet that I'm writing, that I write a full chapter here and there, so I don't lose my original thoughts.


Yeah, number one is a slight obstacle at the moment...


Good tips, Shannon. I will have to remember #3...

Also: I suggest to all who like to write to try reading Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine. It was very helpful!


Those were great tips. Really great, and I really used them to finish the book that I wrote, especially #3. And my first draft was terrible, but it was okay becasue I finished it.

I guess I didn't do #1 very well, because I started writing when I was 16 and finished it when I was 18. But I had started about five other books before that with no success. So I guess the years of experience differ from person to person.

But I had to have an ending in mind before I wrote the beginning, else I wouldn't have finished.


I like the tips. I have the problem of not being patient (It runs in the family) and not doing an outline. The book I'm working on now, currently titled "Fire versus water," A story about a girl with the gift of fire but a passion for water, is going badly because I did only a brief outline. An adopted fairy/human is trapped with a hatred of fire, but has to endure it. And she loves the water but it makes her sick if she tries to use it. She gets help from some one, who knows who, and somehow she loses fire. Then i started writing. I do like the story until a certian point, and then it plops. I can start in the middle and it goes great- but no one knows who the people are. My problem is plot. But I love to write! I just fail constantly. It drives me wild, and I hate what I get for a while, and I go back wanting to give it another shot and I forget what I had. I was really wondering if there was some writing group for kids that wasn't to expensive and was for people who have problems with their writing. Again, thanks for the tips.

Lauren A.

Those are good pointers... I'll still try to write those stories that are always nagging at me, but I shouldn't worry if they're not perfect... I have plenty of time to write them in the future if it doesn't work out at the moment... :0)


Very sage advice. I have to say, I'm a jumper. I can't even figure out the chronological order of what I've written. And I'm still waiting for Diana to get me paper with "Just a Draft" written in big friendly letters like a watermark across the page. I'll have to print out this blog entry and put it on my mirror as an encouraging motivator.


thanks Shannon, i think those will help me a lot!
my only problem is plot.
i really like the way i write, but after I've read one of my stories (i usually write short ones C:) lots of times they never seem as good. sorry if that didn't make much sense.


I have Writing Magic placed on hold at my library, but I'm not the first to have requested it, so it'll be a while.
Daily writing goals--ick!I'm scared to even try just yet. But for encouragement to the brave ones: my sister who writes sets goals and one of her books is 177 pages so far, and still going! Page numbers bring me a whole new admiration to authors.
I thought I'd try simplifying my books and try doing more drafts (something I've never done before--this'll be scary!). We'll see, huh?


btw, Shannon, this is off topic, but on your previous blog entry i wrote about problems with the book quizzes. i just thought I'd mention it here in case u didn't see it C:

Jaya Lakshmi

Ah, true advice. I had to jump around to find out what my real process was. That's how I came to write And They Disappear, which hasn't been rejected or accepted so far. Caradina, the novel I'm working on, I just made a list of plots after I figured out where was going. Even so, I make up a lot of the story as I go along. I don't know what my subconscious is doing.
I recommend On Writing by Stephen King and Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. Does anyone know where I can get The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones?


Great advice! I like the encouragement peppered throughout your blogs, Shannon. It's a good reminder to keep on going. One of my favorite writing books is Sometimes The Magic Works, by Terry Brooks.


Shannon, do you know of some books about writing? I would love to hear them. Geared for children writers, of course. I might buy a few. Max is lucky to have a family who encourages reading and writing stories so much. My next-door neighbors dad is writing a book, but he isn't around to talk to much. Maybe Max and the Haleing(Baby Hale) will write some too. They might not, my dad writes computer software and I hate computers, but they will probably write a bit!

site administrator

Sorry, asha, but the quiz is correct! The trees were painted on the shield at the end. The right answer is the Bayern sun surrounded by blobby sheep.


I think the quiz is wrong, it said that I got 1 right but I checked the book and I got all but 2 wrong. The advanced quiz on Goose Girl is either not read the book or I got a seveer misprint. And the animal worker DID get the Bayern sun with blobby sheep inked on his arm. Or, wait, that's what you said. Forget that part. But the quiz is wrong.


I think the quiz is wrong, it said that I got 1 right but I checked the book and I got all but 2 wrong. The advanced quiz on Goose Girl is either not read the book or I got a seveer misprint. And the animal worker DID get the Bayern sun with blobby sheep inked on his arm. Or, wait, that's what you said. Forget that part. But the quiz is wrong.


site administrater- but that's what i said!


When I last tried the quiz, I did all the different combos of answers, and it was the blobby sheep that went wrong. But it was awhile back, so maybe it was fixed.


(sorry for double-posting!)
I tried it. 8 of 10 correct with blobby sheep; 9 of 10 correct with Bayern trees.


This is so true! I testify to all of you that what Shannon says is true. I know that every writer works differently, but I can relate to these guidelines. Writing definitely takes maturity. First drafts are always lousy, but I love the feeling of rewriting and writing something really good. Thank you Shannon. I also thank you for the fifteen mintues a day advice. It's helped me greatly.


Shannon, when is Austenland coming out? And the other one, Rapunzel's Revenge. We might want to order it ahead of time, so that it ends up on our front door the day it is released. Amazon is WONDERFUL! And yes, the 15 minutes Did help a lot. I have gotten about three chapters done and rewritten when I did that. Your tips, all of them, helped.


Thanx for the tips I could always use more. Hehe. Well at the moment im behind in writing my book but thats just because i waw away for a while and didnt have my computer with me. Yes i write is on the computer because it takes me to long to do it on paper and it makes it easeir to correct mistakes i might miss if it was on paper.
REALLY EXITING NEWS: Right before I left for FL guess what i bought...cookies! No im joking i got River Secrets!!! Im am WAAAAYYY beond exited! Sadly i still have a few books on my lost that i have to read first. Sorry. When I say a few i literly mean only 2 or 3 so it should be long.
Faith- Wow, your books sounds pretty good. Its hard to tell what ill end up calling mine but for now i think ill go with "the Silver Stone" or something like that. I would write about the plot line but this post is already kinda long so ill do it on another post some other time.


thanks, veronica.the probkem is finishing it. and if it is as good as i think it might get finished.the whole fire versus water is a poor choice of title, but I could use some suggestions. i was considering calling it fire lily, because the main character is called Endiria, or fire-lily. But the problem with that is she hates fire! The girl Is a princess, so she should have a royal title for her book.

shannon hale

Ah-ha! You were all right. There was an error on the adv GG quiz. Just one question was wrong, though (the blobby sheep), and I had it fixed. Weird. Don't know how that happened.

Austenland out next spring, book of a thousand days in fall, rapunzel in Jan 08.


thanks Shannon!
I'm sorry to keep this up, but just while we're on the topic, i thought i should mention that the advanced pa quiz is faulty, too. C:


You might try NaNoWriMo. It looks like a really good concept to motivate someone to finish a novel. However, it is officially only in November which, I'm sure most of you have noticed, is almost over. But there's always next year!


thats so cool Faith. My main charactor is a princess to. I started it before i read the Goose Girl and then stopped it. Then one day i found it in my documents and decided to start it again. Im going to open up a writing web site hopefully really soon that will help other writers as well as display all my writings. And every week or so (once i start my writing web site) then i will post parts of the book im writing (cerently called the Silver Stone). When i say parts of the book that im writing i dont mean chapters i mean about a page of so every 3,4,or 5 days. Well ill tell you all about the plot line some other time. Untill then...Happy writings and readings! :)


Yeah its open!!! It doesnt have much on it yet but my new writing site is now open. To go there click my name or this link:


Uh, Veronica, hate to break it to you, but nothing happened no matter what I do. Is that what I'm supposed to see? A list of rules- all reasonable- and uh, nothing? Or did you just open it today and are going to add more stuff? Can you really comment on the guestbook? I couldn't. Or I'm bad at figuring out the kinks of a website. Help, please?


Ok i will tell you the truth. I just opened it 5 mins ago and yes there will be much more soon. go there now i just added more. Oh and thanks for telling me about the guestbook problem ill go fix that now.


Those are wonderful tips! I'm turning eighteen soon so I hope to have more perspectives on things-I think Sherwood Smith has excellent advise on this, too (found her link on this website-thank you Shannon).
So I'm trying all I can to focus on the things in my stories I can understand-emotions, underlying emotions, character attributes-that sort of thing.
I don't know if I'm mature enough to remember number three, though! I have a tough time with first drafts :(.


Sorry if I'm over posting, but Veronica, the guestbook still doesn't work. I don't know how else to tell you but here. And I'm really mad because one kid was so dumb as to actually say reading was stupid *gasp* and that they should never encourage writing. That writing was just a game for babies and that it was a complete joke that anyone learned anything from reading! Of course that means that she was so dumb that at age 13 she couldn't read. Why is reading not considered normal anymore? Sorry, just had to get that out. Done.


You can still be young and have lots of experience. I could have told you, by the age of 14, how life is in 3 continents. It all depends on how much you move and who you are. First drafts are utter *bleep*(put whatever expletive fits you best). Deal with it. Same with the writing process.

shannon hale

Nope, asha, adv PA quiz is all correct. Just checked it. There are some tricky questions though.


Thanks for posting that. I love these advice thingies. :D


Exactly Anon. You said what I wanted to. I dont know why i didnt. Oh and Faith I tried fixing the guestbook at my site again. I worked. And i updated more. Read the home page and the updates page for details.



sorry, Shannon ~blushes~


yay! i got them all right this time!



I have had a story sitting there unfinished of about four months now. But I feel inspired to keep writing now. I also have a friend who can't write any of her fifty bazillion awesome ideas because she is never happy with the words once she writes them down. Perhaps this will help her too.


Jaya Lakshmi

There's more than one way to write. One way is to stand in front of a computer screen with an outline. Another way is to stand in front of a computer screen and make up as you go along. I find the middle path between the two. Buddha would be proud of me.
Partially joking! There's a website that Heather Walker recommended to me where you can get a mentor in writing: http://mentoring.absynthemuse.com The wait list is ten days, and I still don't have a mentor, but it might be fun.


Great tips, Shannon, thanks!

Guess what, my library FINALLY got River Secrets. I reserved it immediately, and I'm going to pick it up today. I'm so excited!!!

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