Tag Archives: advice

Writing Tips from Lily Brooks-Dalton, author of Motorcycles I’ve Loved

What writing techniques have you found most important or memorable? When it comes to revising something, I’ve gotten into the habit of retyping my pages. It sounds pretty time-consuming—and it is—but it’s so worth it. I don’t know how else to get that kind of fresh perspective on a sentence-by-sentence level unless you force yourself to literally rewrite every single line. After developing an idea, what is the first action you take when beginning to write? I’ll probably do an outline. Sometimes I just dive straight into the prose, but at a certain point I need to step back and organize my thoughts. Particularly if it’s going to be a book, I’ll end up laying it out chapter by chapter pretty early on. That outline will change radically as I get further in, but it’s good to have a road map. I’m a big fan of lists—I might make a list of all the scenes I already have in mind, or elements that I want to include, just to get it down on paper. If I’m stuck, a list like that is a great resource to look back at. Is there something you do to get into a writing mood? Somewhere you go or something you do to get thinking? I need a quiet room and a big, uninterrupted chunk of time. I’m at my most productive when I know that I can devote an entire day to a project—wake up with it and go to sleep with it. But if all else fails… candy. Did you always want to write? How did you start your career as an author? I’ve always written, but it wasn’t always clear to me that I could be a writer (whatever that means). When I was a kid, I really believed that I could do anything, but as I got older, it seemed impossible, like I was being foolish if I didn’t have a plan B lined up. I think the first time I really gave myself permission to at least try to be a writer was when I was an undergrad, working on the opening chapters of Motorcycles I’ve Loved, and my writing professor told me it could be a book. I’m not sure I would have allowed myself to entertain that fantasy if someone hadn’t given me the go-ahead. It’s an amazing gift to give someone—to give them permission to go for it. I wish it was easier to give it to ourselves! What clichés or bad habits would you tell aspiring writers to avoid? Do you still experience them yourself? Don’t use three words when one will do. I am totally guilty of that, I always have a whole list of adjectives that I cannot part with. What’s the best piece of advice you have received? Finish things. I forget where I first heard that, but it’s the most important thing I know about writing. It doesn’t matter how good your ideas or your opening pages are if you don’t finish your project. Read more about Motorcycles I’ve Loved here

Listen: Jon Acuff, “Never Trade 50 Weeks of Misery for 2 Weeks of Vacation, That’s Terrible Math.”

Jon Acuff, author of Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck, stops by the studio to talk about how to love what you do for a living. His hilarious and inspirational book is perfect for anyone, no matter your profession or career level. Read more about Do Over here. Subscribe to Beaks & Geeks on iTunes, visit us on Soundcloud and follow us on twitter: @BeaksandGeeks

Get to Know Fodor’s

Ever wonder about the people who work on an imprint or book… or in another department altogether? What exactly do they do? Behind the Scenes posts shed light on Penguin Random House’s inner workings. You’ll meet departments and staff members and learn how they contribute to the books you love.

About Fodor’s Travel

Fodor’s is the oldest guide book company in America.  Our award-winning guidebooks, website, eBooks, and mobile apps provide today’s traveler with up-to-the-minute information to over 7,500 worldwide destinations. Our vast team of global correspondents offers highly curated, expert advice on how to travel smarter, from the best arts and culture offerings, to tips and strategies for an authentic and immersive experience, and the right hotels and restaurants for every taste and budget.  At Fodor’s Travel, our editors travel relentlessly to share the world’s best experiences with you. In 2014, they visited 110 countries and all 50 U.S. states. And our worldwide team of over 700 travel writers bring you the latest, most accurate coverage, and like trusted companions, reveal local treasures and everything you need to know before you arrive. Fodor’s offers the assurance of our expertise, the guarantee of selectivity, and the choice details that truly define a destination. It’s like having a friend wherever you travel.

 Our Content

We’re particularly proud of the Fodor’s Go List, which features the 25 can’t-miss spots that we think should be on every traveler’s radar for the year. Be sure to check out our trip ideas and blog content, too! 

See awards won by Fodor’s here

What it’s like to work at Fodor’s

“My adventure bucket list has grown exponentially – and it’s no hardship coming to work every morning to photos of unspoiled beaches and scenic vistas. It’s like being in a whirlwind of wanderlust. Everywhere you turn someone is planning a trip somewhere. We know what we’re talking about because we’ve experienced it firsthand. ” – Emily Davis

“I love the insider knowledge! Working with the Fodor’s editors, who are constantly traveling and exploring, I get a first look at all the best places to stay, eat, and visit.” – Heather Dalton

Fodor’s Year in Review (click image to see full size)

Slide 1

Visit us at Fodors.com!