Advice From a Novice Writer

Wannabe Pride welcomes guest blogger M.C. Simon

Photo Artist: Angela Waye

Yes, you heard it right… advice from a beginner. You, the writer who has climbed to a higher level, just saw these words.

Sounds too bold? Can a novice writer do this?

I bet she can! In life we can receive advice from any level of consciousness and if we are able to perceive what’s behind the lines, we can always learn something new… or we can see the same thing from a different perspective.

It is said “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”.

Life has shown me many times the depth of these words. They are not saying that the teacher must have a specific degree or diploma… but for sure we came into these human bodies to learn about life. And this life is teaching us so many things, in so many different ways through various people. Some of them are experts and some beginners in your field of interest. Let yourself hear a novice’s advice also.

David Bailey said once “The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading”. And this advice was given to him by a student when he was sixteen.

According to Merriam Webster, an advice is an opinion or suggestion about what someone should do.

Than permit me to write here what I consider to be the first advice which any writer should receive. And let me be straight.

GO TO THE ROOTS! Define very well what your reason to write is. Without a clear reason, you will succeed to start writing, but being nourished by a temporary impulse, in a short time the impulse will disappear and your writing life will also reach an end.

I am not a fan of giving direct advice. I always prefer giving subliminal advice which lets the reader choose what is right for him or not. I am doing this because one of my mottos in life is that I am never doing to others what I don’t like someone else to do to me. I always prefer having a choice, no matter what.

Are you wondering what connection there is between advice latent with choice and the writing process itself?

Well… a distinction must be made here: on the one hand there are technical advices which of course I prefer to be direct; I would never try to dig behind the words if we are talking about technique, procedures and so on. All these can be learned by anyone and I personally appreciate people who are giving technical advice… especially for free. Doing this they also involve their hearts and the advice touches the reader’s heart in a very deep way.

Now, my advice can be considered direct and indirect also. Direct because I told you exactly what to do. Indirect because I never mentioned how and when you will reach the roots.


Dig deep into your heart and see the roots where your desire to write emerged from. Embrace the roots and start to write.

I know… I know… we are human… we need proof also. So let’s do it like this. You like to write. You have a sudden inspiration. Start! Write. Put your heart on the paper. Do it; and somehow on a cloudy day you will meet what is called a writer’s block. I know it, I already touched that level.

That block can be scary sometimes. If it lasts more than a few days, it can induce a very strong doubt in you. The experiment which I’m proposing for you is that when this moment comes, do not panic, and do not start to doubt yourself.

So just relax. Add some of your favorite music if you need it. Breathe deep and… smile.

After you have totally relaxed and the smile shines upon your face, dig into your subconscious mind and find there the roots of your desire to write. Don’t stop when you find the superficial reasons… dig deeper and bring to surface the ultimate roots of your reason. Listen to your heart; it knows best when these roots are discovered.

Breathe deep and smile again. And after this WRITE!

Write and see what’s happening. Write from the depth of your heart. Spread on paper your truth… nothing else than your truth.

Can you see the difference now? Well… even if you see it or not… my next advice is: DON’T follow any advice, no matter how good it is, until the moment when your heart is telling you to do so. Ultimately, my advice is to follow your heart… and WRITE!


Writer, translator, researcher, engineer… and much more. What else can I ask for? :) I have breathed on this planet since January, 29, 1967, being born in Romania, a country which I always liked, in a city crossed by the Danube river, where my mother was in a short holiday before she was to deliver her first child. I recently decided that I am a writer. This writer started to ask for her freedom and I intend to set her free. So, the first move was to choose a Pen Name… like any writer who has a reason to choose it. What’s my reason? Only one: intending to write only in English language, my real name would be hard to spell; but loving too much my name, I simply couldn’t get rid of it and I decided only to cut the last letters. “Everything is based on contrasts. You can read these lines only because it is enough contrast between the letters and the background”. Yes, that’s me also. Fire and ice, sweet and bitter, warm and cold… I will not continue anymore here; I am sure you caught the main idea. And I am wondering now… can the letters which I will choose bring out enough contrast on the paper to keep your attention awakened?


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77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected

What better way to learn about rejection than to hear it from someone who doles them out?

77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected provides inside information on rejections as it was written by a guy who has issued thousands and thousands of them. He has also published more than 40 books and received more than 2000 rejections of his own. The author is Mike Nappa, Founder and Chief Literary Agent of Nappaland Communications. He also served as Chief Literary Agent for three publishers.

This was a fast, breezy read that is packed with informative tidbits on exactly why many books and book proposals get rejected. It seems that a lot of the advice is aimed at nonfiction proposals, though the book doesn’t specifically say so. Still, there is plenty of valuable information that applies to fiction and nonfiction alike.

Nappa reminds writers to never forget that books are published for profit (tattoo that behind your eyeballs, as William Goldman would say). Publishing is a business and the writer who forgets that is an unpublished one. He says the most important people to impress are the Publisher, the VP of Marketing, and the VP of Sales.  

Nappa’s book doesn’t merely provide tips on avoiding rejection, but provides details on the thinking of the editors, publishers, and what makes them issue a rejection. Not only that, for each scary tip on why your book may be rejected, he includes a What You Can Do About It section. After all, if you are aware of the reasons for rejection, you can avoid many of them.

Some of the reasons for rejection include:

  1. You Lied to Me
  2. You Insulted Me or My Company
  3. Your Book Tries to do too Much
  4. Your Word Count is Too Long or Too Short
  5. You Didn’t Do Your Homework
  6. You Are Lazy
  7. I Had a Fight With My Spouse and/or Children Just Before I Read Your Proposal
  8. I’ve Rejected this Book Before
  9. Your Project is Unoriginal
  10. You Have No Idea What it Means to Market a Book
  11. You Have No Legitimate Means for Marketing a Book
  12. You Have No Internet Presence
  13. There’s Too Much Competition For Your Book
  14. You Aren’t Able to Significantly Differentiate Your Book from the Competition
  15. You Have Unrealistic Expectations about Your Publishing Potential
  16. You Don’t Know Why People Buy Books
  17. You Want Too Much Money
  18. You Self-Published Yourself Into Oblivion
  19. Other Books Similar to Yours Did Not Sell According to Expectations
  20. Nothing Similar to Your Book Shows Up on Industry Bestseller Books

I highly recommend this book to find out the inside reasoning for the above rejections, as well as the other 57 reasons Mike Nappa warns your manuscript will get rejected.

You can find the book here.

Advice for Beginning Actors Part 7: What is Your Dream Role?

Special thanks to the actors who have taken time out of their busy schedules to graciously provide advice for new actors for Wannabe Pride, including Regen Wilson, Chris Pentzell, David DeBoy, Ken Arnold, Mercedes Rose, Gabriel Voss, Brittany Baratz, Laura Hunter, Lance Carter, Stephon Fuller, and Rachel F. Hirsch.


“I dream of playing the father of the star on a sit-com. Steady work, not too many lines to learn, you get your laughs in front of a live audience and make good money doing it. It’s as close to a 9-5 job as you can get as an actor!” – David Deboy (email) (website)

 “The one that pays well enough to allow me the freedom to pursue other dream roles without having to worry about what they pay.”     -Regen Wilson (website)

“I know it’s cliche, but I would love to be in a Woody Allen movie.” – Chris Pentzell (email)

 “Wow. There are many roles I would love to play. A James Bond type or Jason Bourne could be fun. Anything in a JJ Abrams project. Anything opposite Tom Hanks or Diane Lane.” – Ken Arnold ( STUDIO BOH)

“I intend to someday star in a pop culture phenomenon. Something that people talk about for generations. Ya gotta have a goal.”             –  Mercedes Rose (Imdb)  (website)

“Daniel Craig’s James Bond or Jason Bourne – badasses with emotion and intellect. That said, I’m set to star in an indie film shooting in Maryland in 2012 that has one of the most original and thought-provoking story concepts I’ve seen. It’s as groundbreaking as Saw or Fight Club.”  – Gabriel Voss (website, imdb, facebook, twitter)

“My dream role is Christine in Phantom of the Opera. I first saw it on Broadway when I was 13, and it has remained my favorite musical.” – Brittany Baratz (website, twitter, Knuffle Bunny National Tour)

 For theater, basically anything Ibsen or Chekhov is a dream role in my eyes. In film or television, I’m sure its something that no one has thought of yet. My dream would be to play a really strong female role in a television series, and to work with good people that I love. Its funny, though, I’m doing a play in a couple of weeks that was written by one of my best friends from high school. She just moved to LA and is already getting great attention as a playwright. For us to be able to come together, after both moving to LA from a small town in Virginia, and work on something artistically… that feels like a dream role, too, in a way.”Laura Hunter (email, website, twitter, facebook, youtube, contributor to

“I don’t really have a ‘dream’ role. I just like/want to play people who either challenge me or make the audience laugh.” – Lance Carter website, twitter, Facebook)

“My dream role doesn’t necessarily exist yet. It lives in the mind of some young composer carving out a name for herself just like me. I want to be part of the creative process. My dream is to be known as the girl who originates roles on Broadway (or workshops and readings all over the country)!” – Rachel F. Hirsch twitter, website, acting website, website)

“There are too many things I still aspire to do to have a single dream role.  I look forward to many more commercial, TV/Film, stage roles, etc.  There is so much I wanna do.  I like to be a rock star, infantry man, father, dancer, inmate, comic, etc.” – Stephon Fuller (twitter, blog, website)

Advice for the Beginning Actor

 Today’s Guest Blog is brought to you by actor Gabriel Voss. Gabriel is a prolific actor who recently received a Best Actor nomination from the World Music and Independent Film Festival for his lead role in the feature BRIGHT LIGHTS & PROMISES. Visit his inspiring and educational acting blog, see his monologue, and see his impressive resume on IMDB. Many thanks to Gabriel for stopping by Wannabe Pride and sharing his inspirational advice!

“Never, never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill

If you are just getting your feet wet as an actor, then everything I’m going to say in this blog has already been summed up above. If you’re busy (as most of us are), you need read no further. The Cliff Notes version is in Churchill’s quote. If you have a few minutes extra and want the full story, read on. 

Perseverance is the key to success in any field, acting not excepted. When you’re starting out as an actor, it’s all excitement, all illusions of grandeur that you’ll be “discovered” in short order and off to Hollywood to make loads of money starring in blockbuster films. Even for the more grounded among us, it’s difficult to keep your head out of the clouds when it comes to envisioning your acting career. So snap back to reality with me for a moment. 

Typically, new actors struggle to get their first gig. By “gig” I mean acting job where you actually have lines to say – whether in a commercial, an industrial, or a film. Many wannabe actors get discouraged at this pupae stage of their career and decide it isn’t for them. For those that stick around and land their first gig, it’s completely intoxicating.

 You must be good or they wouldn’t have chosen you over the dozens or hundreds of others in the crowd. You’ve been discovered! You’re on your way! Next stop, Hollywood! Okay, I’m belaboring the point, but only because I’ve been guilty of getting carried away too.

The elation of landing that first gig starts to wear off the second shooting is wrapped and you realize people aren’t flooding your inbox and phone with requests to be in their next project. When you’re back to square one fighting tooth and nail for the next gig.

 Some get lucky here and book back-to-back projects (the film industry loves new faces, but only for a short while). Others have trouble getting the next audition and even more trouble landing another role. The first group is still at the top of the mountain emotionally, while the second group is beginning to understand what the dark and lonely valley of the acting world feels like. Eventually, even those that booked a lot of stuff initially will hit the doldrums, will question their ability and themselves. It happens to everyone.

 I say this not to discourage you, but to encourage you. To let you know that when you go through droughts (which is harder to take earlier in your career), you aren’t alone. No matter how much it may seem other actors you know are forever busy, they have their slow times too. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad actor or that no one wants to hire you. It’s just the nature of the beast. It will get to you, there’s no way around that. But don’t let it take you down. 

A personal example might help. I’ve been acting for a little over two years now, full time for almost 6 months. Three weeks ago I had the following 10 day schedule: spend 6 days in LA for a film festival at which an indie feature I was the lead male in won best musical, film a lead role in a comedy short, two auditions for major commercials, two shoot days on another indie feature film, and film a webcast hosting gig about lunar exploration. My schedule was packed and I certainly felt in demand and like things were taking off. Two weeks later, I had nothing – no filming, no auditions, no prospects. I felt like I was almost back to square one. What happened? What had gone wrong? 

Nothing. That’s just how it goes.

 There are incredible highs and heart-wrenching lows in the acting business. You never know what’s going to happen next. Maybe it’ll be the big break you’ve been waiting for; maybe it’ll be nothing at all. As a new actor the best thing you can do is resolve to just keep going not matter what. Eventually (and it could be years), you will get noticed, your career will pick up steam, you will find yourself going places. But you can’t get there if you give up. 

I’m not the only one saying this. Ask anyone in the business and they’ll say the same. Yesterday I got an email from a friend of a friend who is a low-level producer in LA. I’d asked him for insight on the LA scene based on his 5 years experience out there. The first and only piece of advice he gave me: “The best advice I can give you is to persevere and not give up.  Many of the people working in the industry are not there because of sheer talent but because they keep trying.”

 Never, never, never, never give up. If this is what you want to do, do it. Keep doing it. Day in and day out. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you in your journey – you will need them. You will want to quit, you will question your ability, you will cry.

 But if you keep at it, you will succeed.

I’ll end as I began, with the timeless words of Winston Churchill who knows a thing or two about perseverance: “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” 

Welcome to the struggle. It is immensely difficult but ineffably rewarding. We are all rooting for you. You can do it.

 — Gabriel Voss