I’ve been reading the insider’s guide to the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Yes, it’s completely daggy. But that’s just how this series is – once you’ve read all the books there are to read you’ll take any way back into the world you can.
(There’s a hilarious review of Dark Lover here. What I love most about it is the self-conscious comments from readers who just can’t help themselves.)
There’s a section in the guide that’s J. R. Ward’s advice to writers. She says a couple of things which really got me.
1. Writing and getting published are two very distinct things. Being published and having people buy your book are not the only things that validate you as a writer. If you write, you are an author.
2. Do the best you can do now. This bit of advice is great, huh? Ward gives a really warm, funny account of when it was first passed on to her. I think you know when you’re pushing your own boundaries and it’s relaxing to think that that’s enough.
3. And the one that spoke to me most: Write out loud. By this she means – push your ideas as far as they go. Write what’s in your head without concession to readership/market/internal censor or inhibitions. You can edit it back later.
This last piece of advice is also what I think has made her series so stratospherically successful. Her characters are big, cheesy and far too much. But they are so unrestrained, so true to themselves, that you fall right in with them.