Learning From the Pros

Kelly and James Patterson

Recently, I was blessed enough to attend an author event at the University of Florida and the guest of honor was one of my favorite authors. I don’t go all “fan girl” too often, but that night I did. It was such and honor to meet James Patterson and listen to him be interviewed by another great writer, Michael Connelly.

Michael Connelly

I learned some things I’d like to share. Most of these ideas are things most writers know and put into practice, but somehow hearing it from a man who has had 82 #1 best sellers made it seem more real to me.

  1. Outlining is important. It keeps you on track and prevents you from wasting valuable time writing yourself into a corner.
  2. Write EVERY DAY!
  3. James and I share the philosophy that if you write it, and make it interesting and relevant enough, kids will read it. We are all about encouraging young people to read.
  4. Keep track of all your ideas somewhere close and visit them frequently – you never know when something will spring forth and be that prize winning novel you’ve always dreamed about
  5. You can be successful as a multi-genre author
  6. Write at least three drafts before calling it done – Michael Connelly even does more than three on some of his books
  7. Readers have different opinions and you can’t please them all, but if you learn and develop your craft well enough to write a good story, you’ll please a lot of them
  8. Never stop learning about the craft of writing – set aside time to take a course, research a writing concept, read a book on writing – anything to continue to grow as a writer
  9. Try something new. Stretch your writing muscle in a different direction, through a new genre or character perspective
  10. Authors need to know their audience and market to them – With James Patterson’s background in advertising, I found this very valuable. Learn the characteristics, demographics, likes and dislikes of the readers that read a particular genre

I could go on, but I think ten tips is enough for today. I’m still mulling over a lot of the things I learned. A special thank you to my son for inviting me on this incredible journey. Check this one off the bucket list!

About Kelly Abell

I am a writer, blogger, and graphic artist. My aim for you is to utilize this blog to help you improve your writing skills, and to educate you on the publishing business. If you need help with writing, want to self-publish a book and need advice, or just want to kick a story idea around to see what works best, that's what I'm here for. As I gain knowledge from editors and publishers, I will share that knowledge with you. As writers we should always strive to improve our craft and grow. A day should not pass where you haven't learned or tried something new with your writing. Many thanks to my Night Owl Friend, Lea Ellen Borg for editing my posts! Best to you and all your characters and stories. Write on, my friends...Write on.
This entry was posted in Where Story Ideas Come From, Writing Tips. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Learning From the Pros

  1. Great advice from the pros, Kelly, you included. Thanks for sharing. Meeting those two must have been quite a special experience!


  2. Kelly Abell says:

    Hi James. It really was! I had a great time. Opportunities like that don’t come around too often. 🙂


  3. Pingback: Learning From the Pros – Defining Ways

  4. Great post. what a fabulous opportunity.


  5. jackstr952 says:

    Thanks, Kelly – I have been applying these 10 tips (with exception of #9) for years.


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