• Grace A. Johnson

Ask Ann-Marguerite: Welcome to The Official Writer's Advice Column!


Bonjour, mes amis! Welcome to la colonne des conseils de l'écrivain officiel--the Official Writer's Advice Column. I am Ann-Marguerite, and you write to me with your questions, oui?

Pardon the confusing intro...this is the OWAC, where I--or, rather, my columnist persona--tackles all of your writing, editing, publishing, marketing, plotting, crafting, worldbuilding, etc. questions, whether they be basic, unconventional, difficult, or easy. You send your questions through my contact form--with the subject "Ask Ann-Marguerite"--or leave them in the comments below, and, in typical newspaper advice column style, I will answer your anonymous questions, one per post, every Wednesday from now until...until I run out of questions! 😋

I've been asked a lot within the last two or so years--and, if anyone knows me, you know that I have a hard time putting my thoughts into verbal utterances. As in, it takes me about thirty minutes of jawing your ear off to get the my actual point.

One of the questions--or, well, it's more a statement--that I get a lot is "I've always wanted to write, but I never had a chance (or the inspiration, knowledge, etc.)," which translates into "What would you say to a teenager or a senior adult who really wants to write but doesn't know how to start?" My answer is usually something like, "Well, all it takes is the desire. And to read what you want to write--and what you don't want to write." But, sometimes, that's not enough.

So I want to walk you all through the process of beginning to write.

I'm going to begin with the basic questions--like why should I write? How do I get started? What is insert writing thing here? After that, I'll tackle every question imaginable about genre, characters, plot, writing processes, and more.

Now, most of the information included in my answers will be either off the top of my head (i.e., my personal opinion) or what I've learned over the last five years (note: I've learned a lot in five years). If I refer to a secondary source, I will be sure to cite/name my source, and if I find another site/blog with similar or beneficial information on the subject of the week, I will be sharing it/them with y'all!

Anyway...I'm using this post as an introduction and a shift from sharing chapters of Beyond the Inner Storm every Wednesday to answering writing/publishing questions. I'm also giving y'all a week to ask them. 😉

But, just in case you don't, here's my itinerary for the next few weeks

December 2nd: I'm too young/too old; should I start writing now?

December 9th: What is good grammar, and how can I use it?

December 16th: How do I hone my craft/develop my voice?

These--and the ones following that some writer friends and I have picked out--are all the things I wish I'd known/asked before I had started writing. Some questions may seem simple or commonplace, but once you get into writing, you realize that those simple things mean everything, and that you didn't even know half of them.


Now, take your seat, ask the waitress for another cup of coffee, and unfold your newspaper--Mademoiselle Ann-Marguerite, the famous French novelist, will be answering all of your questions...and in a distinctive French accent, at that.

(And, yes...this writer just had to invent a character for her blog. Cut me some slack, guys!)


S'il vous plait, leave a writing-related question in the comments, and I will answer it sometime this coming month!

Speaking of December... Short Story Saturday is coming soon!

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