Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Writing Tip Wednesday--Writing Advice from Michelle Roth

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! My guests in this series have had terrific writing advice, and today is no exception. Michelle Roth is visiting this week, sharing her personal experiences and some wise words.

A year and a few months ago, I was you. I'd toyed with the idea of writing. I thought about it. What if I were to write a book? In just a split second, that changed. 'What if' became 'When I.' One afternoon I was reading a book and it was really bad. The plot was disjointed and confusing. The dialog seemed unrealistic. I thought to myself, “Ya know what. I can do better than that.” So I started typing.

I can admit it's not the best reason to write a book. I got so annoyed with someone else's book that I (in my best Nick Burns Computer Guy voice) yelled, “Move!” and then got to work. I was going to school part time, working full time, and I managed to write a 50K word novel in a little over a month.

Don't be too impressed. I can assure you that it wasn't a great book. I was able to crank it out so fast largely because I didn't think anyone else would ever really read it. When I finished, I decided it wasn't half bad, so I sent it to a couple of friends. They encouraged me to submit it to publishers.

Being susceptible to peer pressure, I did just that. It was actually a little bit shocking to me that someone published it. It still is. It was decent, but it definitely wasn't my magnum opus to the world.

It actually took me three more books before I realized that I was no closer to writing that magnum opus. I was missing a really integral part of the whole writing process. I wasn't really looking for feedback. Sure, any feedback that came my way, I certainly took and it made me a better writer. I wasn't really seeking it out, though.

New Writer, if I could give you but one piece of advice, it would be this. Check your ego at the door and ask for help. Seek feedback from reputable sources. Have people beta read your work. Join a critique group. Join a writer's group of some kind. Talk to other writers. Let them tear apart your plot. It may hurt at first, but it will only make you stronger.

Ah. You noticed that little caveat there, did you? What I mean by reputable sources is that there are a lot of folks out there who will say that they're writers. Honestly, I suspect most people have uttered the phrase, “I'd write a book if I had the time,” at some point in their lives. I'm not talking about most of these people. Find the people that are truly dedicated to the writing process.

How can you tell who they are? They are the people who get up two hours early to write before work or stay up until insane hours at night to write because they can't help it. They're the people you can find cranking out pages between breakfast and laundry and the million other things they have to do. Those are the people you need. Those are the people who will want to help you.

I really can't stress it enough. Find the people with a passion for what you're writing and talk to them about your work. They'll listen. They'll have ideas about how to make your writing better and they'll probably be right.

Once you've done that, then return the favor. You'll find that, through listening to constructive feedback and providing it for others, you will become a stronger writer. Never forget. Writing is just like any other acquired skill. It takes practice and dedication.

Michelle Roth is a novelist from the Great White North (Toronto, ON). When she’s not disappearing into foreign lands, or making two perfect strangers that she invented fall in love, she’s probably curled up somewhere with a glass of wine and a good book.
In her spare time she is typically hanging out with her awesome boyfriend and their two equally awesome cats. She likes taking road trips to nowhere in particular, cooking elaborate meals then making other people do the dishes, and being nerdy on the internet. Visit for all of the latest updates!

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Twitter: @mroth_author
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Thanks so much for being here, Michelle! Good critique partners and honest, constructive feedback are great ways to improve writing skills. They've made a huge difference in my stories!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!


  1. LOL. "Check your ego at the door..." Perfect!

    1. That sums it up pretty well, doesn't it, Liz? :D

    2. It's so difficult to take the criticism at first. At least it was for me. But I have improved greatly from every bit of feedback in some way. Gotta check that ego!