Award-Winning and Bestselling Authors

Writers often hope to reach that coveted status of award-winning or bestseller. Authors Jody Lynn Nye, Robert J. Sawyer, John Scalzi, and Tamsin Silver discussed elements of fantastic stories and their top tips for new writers Monday at 9AM on the Fan Tracks channel.

While there is no recipe, there are some key characteristics that typically appeal to readers. For Silver, the story must speak, move, and relate to you. That feeling of being hit in the chest. In a bestseller, Nye said that even if you don’t like the main character, you want to follow their journey to see where it leads; while an award-winning book often has a meaningful story. Sawyer boiled it down to character: He feels opposite of Nye in that a likeable character is seen in bestsellers and award winners often have a somewhat unlikeable main character. Scalzi classified the stories that win awards are the ones that are stylistically bold with a new view and characters who don’t play nice.

The panelists also shared their one line of advice for aspiring writers. Scalzi said write what you want to write about. Sawyer added to write what you want to read. Nye said that you need to love what you’re writing in order for that enthusiasm to show through in the writing. Silver’s suggestion is the one that can sometimes be the hardest: Sit down, butt in chair, and write.

Author of the article

Not everyone can say they watch television for homework, read novels for inspiration, and are paid to follow what’s trending. For Alicia Pack, it is all part of life as a writer and media enthusiast.  When she isn't lost in the world she is trying to create, you can find her with her nose in a book or catching up on her favorite supernatural shows.  She has a Master’s degree in Mass Communications and a Bachelor’s degree in Radio, Television, and Film.  Her nine years of diverse media experience include news writing, copywriting, website content management, social media, promotions, television production, and teaching.