Author offers advice to would-be writers

Photo of author

Photo of author

Paisley Kirkpatrick is my guest this week, and she has two books published with Desert Breeze Publishing, and more to come. Paisley, tell us what makes a writer. How can people with a book in their heads become published as you have?

You’ve got to have a dream to have a dream come true. When you dream, don’t dream small. Go for the biggie because you only go through life once. I can testify that when the biggie comes true, it is worth all the waiting, all the dreaming, and most of all — all the hard work.

Ah, the work. It is more than dreaming then?

My friends said I am one of the most stubborn people they know. How could I possibly practice writing for 22 years and never give up. I prefer calling it perseverance — more letters in the word, and it sounds prettier. Twenty-two years ago I started writing this story called Marriage Bargain. Once I had it into a computer — way back in the days of two floppy discs to get the computer to load up — I needed to learn the proper way to present it. Just how could I do that? I had no idea the wonderful world of writers, chapters, and RWA would change my life. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I have landed in a place where I know I was born for, the place I persevered for.

Yes, I agree that a professional association and the support of other writers is key. 

What do you think of the advice to new writers to “write what you know.”?nightangelcoverart72dpi__49216.1359521482.1280.1280

Unfortunately, I didn’t hear this piece of advice before I started writing, but I did have a great crutch. My great, great grandfather, Dr. Charles Kirkpatrick, wrote a journal when he traveled across the country in 1849 on a wagon train. Not bad for finding what I needed from an ancestors that lived the story. Inadvertently, I did write what I know after studying his words. This five star journal is kept under glass at the Bancroft Library at UC California, Berkeley.

Wow! What a rich resource from your own family’s history! What was your toughest lesson to learn as a writer?

My first review by a chapter mate made me realize how little I knew about the craft of writing. I handed her my magnificent story and could hardly hear her thoughts. She gave it back to me and said she’d try reading it again when I learned point of view. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I learned. I’d say out of all the things I’ve learned to master, POV is one of the most important and can be a very difficult skill to perfect. If I had any advice to give to a beginning author, it’s the one I would tell them to master first. It can make the difference of distinguishing one character’s thoughts from another. I find it difficult to read a story where the author head hops because when you have to stopMarriageBargainCoverArt72dpi (1) the flow of your reading and reread to figure out who is talking it takes you out of the story and can frustrate a reader enough that they may give up on your story. You certainly don’t want that to happen. This same friend who guided me into learning POV tells a story on me and how bad I was at POV. ”Paisley had a five sentence paragraph with four POVs, one of which was the rock.” It’s something I will NEVER live down, but laughing at yourself and not taking criticism too seriously, is important when you are a writer.

When we transition from readers to writers we do have to think about how the writers we love actually craft their work. Any last words for your fans?

To let you in on how my dream came true, I got my writing contract and March 21, 2013, my second book is released. It’s about a hero and heroine on a wagon train…

Be sure to check out both Paisley’s books. You can download them right now from Desert Breeze Publishing, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

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