We've been very lucky to have Kat Zhang with us as a guest mentor this month. Kat is an amazing young writer, with the first book of her mega-hot trilogy coming out in September: WHAT'S LEFT OF ME.
Here's a quickie interview with her to enjoy in the meantime.
Q. How long have you been writing and what sort of writing training did you receive before writing WHAT’S LEFT OF ME?
I started my first (unfinished) novel when I was twelve, but I didn't actually complete a book until I was seventeen. I started WHAT'S LEFT OF ME that same year, so I didn't really receive any fiction training before then. I did read a ton of "How to Write" books for a while, though, and I've always been a voracious reader :)
Q. What two mistakes do you see young or novice writers most commonly making?
1. Worrying too much about what comes after finishing a book before actually finishing the book. Finishing the book itself is a big step (at least it was for me, if you can't tell by the 5 years it took me, haha). It's okay to take things one step at a time. In fiction, at least, you need a finished manuscript before any of the rest of it matters.
2. Querying too soon. This is totally me superimposing my own mistakes on other people, but for the longest time, I did not understand what "revision" really meant. My idea of "revision" was basically what the publishing industry calls "line edits." The first project I ever queried (the MS before WHAT'S LEFT OF ME) was "revised" but not actually revised. Again, take your time! A first draft is made to be cut up and rearranged and stitched together again. Don't be afraid to make big changes.
Q. If you could give a young or novice writer one piece of wisdom, what would it be?
Write. Keep writing. It's your craft, and it's a skill, and the more you write, the better you get. Also, it'll distract you from all the things in the industry that you can't control. You can spend forever fretting about trends and things like that (and don't get me wrong--they are worth consideration), but in the end, don't waste *too* much energy on it.
Q. What is the most important thing you have learned on your journey to publication?
Enjoy every step of it :)
Thanks so much, Kat!
WHAT'S LEFT OF ME releases Sept. 18, 2012 from HarperCollins Children's
Learn more at: www.katzhangwriter.com