Advice, the Best and the Worst

Posted by Mona Risk | 12:43 AM | 20 comments »

1 - What is the best writing advice you've received in your writing career?

Never give up!

I followed this advice and didn’t let rejection letters discourage me.

Now it’s my turn to tell new writers: Different readers, reviewers, contest judges, or editors have different tastes. You can’t expect all of them to like all your books.

Writing is a subjective business. Use the positive comments and ignore the negative. Every book, every page, every line you type will improve your writing style and make you a better writer.

2- What is the worst writing advice you've received?

Write in a popular genre to sell more books.

Not true. You should write a story from the heart in a genre you like, so that the words flow on the page.

I learned that if an author has trouble writing a scene, it’s probably because it’s forced, and the reader will feel it.

The scenes that easily pour out of your imagination are usually the best scenes and the reader will love them.

Now, I would love to have your answers. What was the best and worst advice your received?

A winner will receive a copy of one of my books.


  1. Beth Trissel // September 26, 2011 at 11:05 AM  

    Mona, excellent post. I agree with you on the best and worst advice.

  2. Vonnie Davis // September 26, 2011 at 11:59 AM  

    My best advice came from my husband. "Write in your style. Use your unique voice."

    The worst advice came from some of the women in our writers' group. Women who've never gotten a contract, I might add. "You should use a more literary style. Your word choices are too common. Too mundane."

    Thus, my husband's advice.

    Great post, Mona.

  3. Celia Yeary // September 26, 2011 at 12:37 PM  

    Very good advice, Mona. We all have to learn that if we're going to be around for a while.
    I always say..."Love Your Own Book." If you don't, no one else will either. Which sort of say, "If your book is rejected, and you love it anyway, then you'll find someone who likes it, too."

  4. Calisa Rhose // September 26, 2011 at 12:57 PM  

    The worst advice I got was from my hubby who, tired of my growing stack of 'written just for me' stories, told me to 'just send them in like they are!' Um I didn't want to be blackballed from every publisher on the planet so I did not heed his advice.

    My best advice also came from hubby who said If you want to write, then write. That advice I took happily!

    Great topic, Mona.

  5. Mona Risk // September 26, 2011 at 1:41 PM  

    Beth, congratulations on both finales. You do well whatever you do.

  6. Mona Risk // September 26, 2011 at 1:44 PM  

    Vonnie, your husband is a treasure. Guard him well and heed his advice.

    You worst advice proves that woman doesn't read much. If she did, she'd know that the new trend is to avoid purple prose.

  7. Mona Risk // September 26, 2011 at 1:47 PM  

    Celia, great advice. I really love my own books. I read them and reread them with pleasure. I hope others do too.

  8. Mona Risk // September 26, 2011 at 1:49 PM  

    Oh oh. Nope can't send manuscripts that are not polished, and polished, and polished. Calisa, your hubby's excuse is that he's not a writer. Good thing, he made up with a good advice and support.

  9. Keena Kincaid // September 26, 2011 at 1:56 PM  

    The best advice I got: Finish the book before your revise. How many people do you know who are still working on the first 30 pages of their first novel?

    The worst advice: Your heroines have to be spunky. Now, I have nothing against spunky heroines, but I couldn't write a spunky heroine if my life depended upon it.

  10. Mona Risk // September 26, 2011 at 2:58 PM  

    Keena, I raise my hand. Guilty. I keep revising and editing as I go along. With every new story, I decide I will write straight, every night, but can't. I stop and edit. And of course when I finish the book, I'll spend as much time editing again. That's why I need an outline, otherwise I lose the thread of my ideas. I'll try to use that good advice. Write straight!

  11. StephB // September 26, 2011 at 3:12 PM  

    Mona, awesome post!

    Gosh, best advice: hard to say, I take so much to heart to improve my craft. I would say, "Stick with it." with that comes the knowledge and understanding that you need a lot of patience to stick with it.

    The worst? You shouldn't self-publish. That came from the hubby. That was back in the day. I think nowadays with authors being more savvier and self-publishing an attractive option, it's more viable.


  12. Mary Marvella // September 26, 2011 at 3:20 PM  

    Good afternoon, Mona!

    Good advice, Don't write for the market, it changes too quickly. Write from your heart.

  13. Mary Ricksen // September 26, 2011 at 3:57 PM  

    Best-Write what you feel!
    Worst-Follow all the rules!!

  14. Mona Risk // September 26, 2011 at 4:21 PM  

    Hi Steph, stick with it is good.

    Strange, my hubby told me years ago to self publish and forget the editors' heartache. I didn't listen.

  15. Mona Risk // September 26, 2011 at 4:23 PM  

    So true, Mary. The market changes so fast. In 2004, one of my mentors, five times GG finalist, couldn't sell her western historicals. Now it's the favorite genre with paranormal.

  16. Mona Risk // September 26, 2011 at 4:24 PM  

    Mary R. I love it. Your worst advice follow the rules! I absolutely love it.

  17. Maggie Toussaint // September 27, 2011 at 9:52 AM  

    Hi Mona,

    My @#$!! computer put your blog post message in my junk folder and I just found it. You're never junk! But my computer software is.

    Very good advice.

    My best advice: Pour yourself in your book.

    My worst advice came from well-intentioned friends in the early days. I listened to them instead of trusting my gut.

    Great post!


  18. Mona Risk // September 27, 2011 at 10:54 AM  

    Maggie, I love that advice: put yourself in your book. In addition I like to lend my goals and my dreams to my heroines.

  19. Nightingale // September 27, 2011 at 11:26 AM  

    Mona, thanks for these reminders. I'm the worst to fret over a rejection. My worst advice was from Marion Zimmer Bradley and it was something like forget it you have no talent!

  20. Josie // October 1, 2011 at 2:16 PM  

    I agree with both the best and worst advice you posted. It's tough not to get up, but we're all hanging in there, and the results are amazing.