When you write fiction, always ask yourself, “Have I got the most out of my plot?” So far I’ve got forty-six novels out of mine.
Pay attention to how you start your morning. I find it helps to get up on the right side of the bed. If I get up on the wrong side of the bed, I hit a wall. I’m not being metaphorical here.
Tension is what makes narrative happen. You need to have an unanswered question that the reader wants to see answered. For example, my readers have told me over and over that the question in their minds when they were reading my books was “When is this book ever going to end?” That’s tension.
The first question young writers ask me is “How do you get published?” My answer is always the same: set your sister up with an acquisitions editor and let nature take its course. It worked for me.
Sometimes students ask me, “Is it necessary to suffer for your art?” I say no. I have always believed that the purpose of my art is to make others suffer.
When aspiring writers ask me how to deal with writer’s block, I have a ready answer: plagiarism. Many writers are not aware that all novels from more than 95 years ago are out of copyright in the United States. This can be a great timesaver.
“Write about what you know” is sound advice, but it is also necessary to write what will sell. This is why so many writers lead second lives as part-time costumed superheroes.
When people ask me for advice on style, I always say, “Avoid the passive voice.” This sends them scurrying off to figure out what the passive voice is (I have no idea myself), and I can finish my latte in peace.