Before the Split Tour Blog Stop – Guest Post Swati Avasthi – Writer’s Tips

Posted October 8, 2010 by Pixie in Uncategorized / 16 Comments

We are thrilled to be a part of this blog tour – not only do we get a guest post from the fabulous author Swati Avasthi, but we’re raising money for charity.

Swati is donating $1 per comment throughout the tour; proceeds go to The Family Violence Prevention Fund. If she reaches her goal of $250.00 she will double the donation.

Each legit comment left (with an email) will enter you in a giveaway to win Split – and because I feel so strongly about this book, this contest is open internationally.

You can read my review here.

If you would like to help out – just follow the blog tour and leave comments on every post. Check out The Teen {Book} Scene for all the details.


Bid on some amazing prizes at


Jeri Smith-Ready has donated a signed ARC of SHIFT, the sequel to SHADE. This most likely will be the very first Shift ARC to go out!

Swati has donated a full manuscript critique, up to 300 pages in MS word.

Top Five Writer’s Tips.

5. Celebrate the mess.
I am not naturally neat. So, my life is cluttered with ways to keep my messes organized. Necessarily evils include: my ga-zillion sticky notes, my calendar, calendar reminders, weekly, daily, master, and manuscript to-do lists. Without them I get nothing of quality accomplished.
Unless we’re talking about the first draft of a novel. Then messy is good. Messy is productive – it just doesn’t look like it. First drafts are about playing, discovering and uncovering. Let go. Play in the mud, celebrate the slop, and see what you unearth.
Example: In the first draft of my current WIP, I introduced a 2 year old in the beginning of the book. Three months and around 200 pages later, he was 25. I ended up cutting him out altogether, but he was useful: his appearance taught me that my protagonist needed to be protective of someone (when he was 2), and by the end of the novel, needed a mentor (when he was 25). His appearance was my intuition talking. Respect your intuition. Messy as it is.
4. Learn to love revision.
Pouring out the story on to the page is wonderful. It’s a rush. But revision is even better. Are you groaning? Lots of writers I know hate revising. I love it. Here’s how I learned to love revision:
First, I assumed that every word I wrote would need to be re-written. Probably more than once. Probably more than twice. For Split, 8 was the magic number. Yep, 8 full drafts. 6 of them before I started agent-hunting looking for an agent. (Don’t actually hunt agents. Hungry as you are, they do fight back.)
Second, I learned that revising is pretty much the same thing as writing. You are still uncovering deeper levels of the story. But you are also discovering what the story is not about. Pull out all the distractions. Complicate all the moments where you are only doing one thing at a time.
Third, know when you are done revising: when you have a house of cards and removing one line, causes a cave in; when your critique group agrees; but most of all, when there are no more surprises left in the book for you, no nuance left to uncover.
3. Think, think, think.
Admit it. Your imagination is like a dog with a bone, gnawing at it to get at the rich marrow inside. Give your imagination a problem and then go for a walk, knit part of a scarf, or sleep on it. You’re likely to have the marrow out if your imagination keeps at it.
Or, go even farther and use method acting (preferably when no one is around) to explore your POV character. I once went grocery shopping as Jace. My kids were beyond thrilled when I came home with tons of junk food, and they learned what Little Debbie was.
2. Cultivate your Ideal Reader.
Your Ideal Reader is insightful, passionately opinionated and smart, especially about books. Your Ideal Reader will speaks in truths, both hard ones and kind ones. Your Ideal Reader gives you foot rubs and calls you a genius. Well, maybe not the last one. Find that person. If you’re lucky, it’s someone you already know. (For me, it is my husband) If you’re not, take writing classes and listen to hear whose opinion you respect. Share pages with a trusted friend. Or hire a book doctor, one who you are sure you can trust.
Then, listen. Your ideal reader is your ideal reader for a reason: you respect his opinion.
Then speak. If you don’t agree with his suggestions, talk about why. Don’t argue him out of his point. Rather, try to uncover what about the line or the moment is bothering your Ideal Reader. Once you understand, find an edit that accomplishes your goal and your Ideal Reader’s.
I can’t overstate the importance of an Ideal Reader. I can only say that Split could never have been written without mine.
1. Writing is no place for timidity. Write bravely. Write boldly. Write every day you can.


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16 responses to “Before the Split Tour Blog Stop – Guest Post Swati Avasthi – Writer’s Tips

  1. Nice article. 🙂 I wonder when she recommends that people start sharing with the ideal reader or writer's group? I find I can't share an idea before it's down on paper or I lose the motivation to complete it.

  2. Those were excellent writing tips (especially the 5th one-I've never been good at organizing!). Hah, I love that she went as Jace to the grocery store. He WOULD buy anything with Little Debbie on it 🙂

  3. Awesome! I love: "Complicate all the moments where you are only doing one thing at a time." And I totally agree that finding your ideal reader is so important. I hadn't heard it said that way before but I think finally doing it saved my manuscript. And I am going to try that method acting thing. I never thought to do it to the grocery store…

  4. Jess, I couldn't resist answering your question: I couldn't agree with you more. Wait to share until you are ready.

    The hard part about listening to criticism isn't that it's tough on the ego (although that's not easy); it's knowing what to do with the comments. And, for me, if I share too early, everything gets muddled.

    Ideally, I wait until I have it as good as I can get it before I share.

    For those of you keeping track of the number of comments in terms of dollar donations, I'll subtract this one 🙂 Goal is still $250!

  5. What an awesome way to contribute! I love it.

    Thanks for the writing tips… I constantly edit as I go and get all perfection obsessed when I write, yet I still can't imagine 8 revisions!

  6. Ms Avasthi is new to me, but I am already smitten with her! Love that she's doing a donation and I love her tips for writers! I especially appreciate 'Celebrate the mess' — so true!

  7. Great post. I especially like the one about the character, this one is so important. Once a reader can connect and identify with a character, they are usually hooked.

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