Octavia Butler

Science fiction writer Octavia Estelle Butler was the author of a dozen novels and many short stories. She also remains the only science fiction writer to ever receive a MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Grant. Following her death in 2006 fellow writer Steven Barnes said “She put everything she had into her work – she was extraordinarily committed to the craft. Yet, despite her shyness, she was also an open, generous and humane human being.”

1. On Habit

“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.”

2. On Science Fiction

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Peter Carey Advice to Writers

“If you feel at all unhappy with your work, there is a good reason for it. Trust your judgment. Write the draft again, and again.” 

At the end of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2009, two-time Booker Prize-winning author Peter Carey sent out the following letter of advice or ‘pep talk’ to all who had taken part in the event.

Dear Writer,

Writing is the easiest thing in the world. Anyone can do it. It’s like hitting a tennis ball against a wall. It’s like swimming. Anyone can learn. You don’t have to be the best. You don’t need to compete in anything. On the other hand, you may aspire to be a celebrated star.

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Twitter Hashtags for WritersTwitter has over 500 million users around the world, with everyone from pop stars to politicians signing up to join the social networking and micro-blogging site.

For writers, Twitter has the potential to greatly benefit your career. Twitter can better connect you with your readers, provide you with networking opportunities with other creative wordsmiths and, importantly, help you to find new audiences for your work.

Hashtags play a very important role in effectively communicating through Twitter. People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorise those Tweets and help them show up more easily in Twitter Search.

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This promotional video from the US office of Random House provides a behind the scenes look at the workings of a major publishing house. It features interviews with the company’s editors, designers, marketing staff and publicists, highlighting the huge amount of work, money and effort that goes into producing and promoting a commercially published book.

Random House is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world and is poised to become even larger as it moves to merge with Penguin. Its authors include Maya Angelou, John Grisham, Gillian Flynn, E.L. James, George R.R. Martin and Paulo Coelho.

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Cassandra Clare Writing Advice Part 2Last week we posted part one of an article by best-selling fantasy and young adult fiction author Cassandra Clare.

Continuing here, Cassandra shares tips and links writers of all genres will find extremely useful and answers many of the most popular questions asked by aspiring authors.  

How do you go about getting published?
Read “How a Book Gets Published” by Nathan Bransford. Now come back and read the rest of this.

Write a book. There is no shortcut around this. Don’t even bother asking the question if you don’t have a book that’s been written and revised. It would be good if the book was commercially viable according to at least one person who is not you or your parents. (Hey, my parents thought my writing was brilliant when I was 13. It wasn’t.) Revising with the help of a critique group is often helpful.

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