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Writing Books/Things that your life and work has taught you


Dear Mr. Wales

As a young and aspiring author, I would be grateful to receive some of your wisdom and knowledge.

Hence the following question:

What things has your life and work taught you about the art of writing, especially based on your special interests and subject covered by your writing?

I'm open to any advice or feedback.

Thanks in advance,


PS. If you could have me read and master the contents of one book or course, what would it be?  

Hi, Brian...  I consider myself a "young and aspiring author," too!  :)

Very good question!  I like it!  I suppose the single thing I've applied to my writing that I've gotten from life is this:  Passion.

You often hear the expression:  "Write what you know."  I suppose that can be good advice, but better advice is:  "Write what you're passionate about!"  When you really CARE about something, it shows when you write about it.  It's so much harder to write well about things you're not interested in.  When you've got a spark inside you about something, it adds fire to your writing.  So find what it is that you're passionate about... in either direction!  Whether you love it or hate it... it's still passion.

I have things that I'm passionate about, and when I'm able to incorporate them into my fiction, I think it really adds an extra level of quality to it.  

As for your P.S...  That's a toughie.  I suppose if I must be honest, I'd say, "MY course."  I put together an 8-class series on fiction writing, drawing from probably 25 different books, as well as my own head.

Still, unless you live around Sacramento, you're out of luck with regard to that.

So what I'd say is that you should discover where your biggest weaknesses lie.  Are they with characterization, dialogue, conflict, etc?  And then evaluate a variety of books that specifically address your weaknesses.

The Writer's Digest Book Club has many fine books to offer, as would any large chain bookstore.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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