Still thinking about the fellow aspiring writer I met the other day. (You can tell how rarely I meet these in the real world. Yet another reason to love the blogosphere.)
During the conversation, she asked me for advice. I passed on some information I thought might help her, but I didn't want to get into the nitty gritty, because ...
a) This was a quick, informal conversation, so there was a limit to what I could tell her
b) I haven't read any of her work yet, so there was really a limit to the specifics I could give her
c) There are some things I don't feel I can tell her without being super, super discouraging.
Still, despite this, I tried to give her some information that I thought would help, and we're planning to stay in touch to keep talking about writing. I think we can grow a lot together as writers, and it'll be really great for both of us, I think, to have corporeal fellow-writers with whom to speak. (Y'all are great, but I do find there's something to be said for flesh and blood.)
This made me remember when I started writing almost two years ago. There are a few things I wish I'd had someone around to tell me.
1) Oh, honey, that book you're writing, well, A for effort, but that thing is seriously flawed. I wouldn't start mailing out queries on it yet, babe. You've got a lot to learn.
2) Make sure you figure out your characters and try to keep them consistent throughout the book. That thing where your characters do stuff that isn't at all like them, that's just confusing for your readers.
3) Motivations, characters should have them. They can't just go around doing things and saying things without any apparent reason or cause, because then they just look like irrational psychos, instead of people that the characters feel connected to.
What do you wish you'd had someone to tell you when you started writing? What have you learned since you started writing?