I love reading advice from writers, particularly writers who are just getting into writing. Today, I’m featuring the advice of first-time author Aaron L whose book Light Under the House is now available from Smashbooks. I think his advice here is sound and provocative; I’m eager to hear what you think.
I think I heard somewhere that â€œlife is pain.â€ I beg to differ. Life is the ability to survive the pain.
When I began my journey into creating my novel Light Under the House, I only had a germ of a plot and not much else. I was a college drop out at the time and didnâ€™t have much going for me. I had also sown a lot of seeds into endeavors that turned out to be useless. I had a mountain of wasted opportunity and regrets piled up. I wasnâ€™t a trained expert in any field. What did I know? Then again, I did know a few thingsâ€¦ I knew about rejection. I knew about the loss of friendship. I knew about living with frustration, anger, and fear. I knew those things. I knew I had a story to tell.
So I asked myself, what does it look like to overcome the wounds Iâ€™ve been dealt? What does it look like to fail and come back again? What does faith in action look like? As I started to ask myself these questions, the novel grew and so did I. In the process I learned some key things:
If you want to challenge the reader, you have to challenge yourself. Light Under the House is a novel about character. I knew I wanted to be better. A better brotherâ€¦sonâ€¦friendâ€¦a better man. If I didnâ€™t find it challenging, I was certain no one else would.
Donâ€™t be afraid to be open and generous. Iâ€™ve learned not be afraid to talk about issues through my story and its characters that are personal me and my struggles. Our scars are just proof that weâ€™re still alive; we can show them.
Everyone has a strength; let yours shine. Donâ€™t get me wrong; itâ€™s not all pain. Iâ€™ve lived a very blessed life. While it was true that I didnâ€™t have any technical expertise, I did have life experience. By the time fifteen I had lived in numerous places in the U.S. and abroad. I had been around the world. I had diverse experiences to draw upon in dealing with people and life. It also helped to hone a unique perspective. What are your strengths?
So can the worst of times make for the best of lines? I think it can. If not, Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll survive it.
Aaron L might be a newcomer to the creation of fiction but is not one when it comes to the arts and all things creative. Growing up in places from Seattle to South Africa, he spent a lot of his time drawing. Aaron always knew that his future lay in a creative field. In 2010, he graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in graphic design. Although the usual application of this degree is in the creation of different types of art and design, Aaron chose instead to focus his creative skills on the task of storytelling. He lives near Chicago, Illinois.
So what do you think of Aaron’s advice? Have you followed similar guidelines yourself? Might you try them out?