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4 Things Author Ellen Oh Wants You to Know About Being a Professional Writer

4 Things Author Ellen Oh Wants You to Know About Being a Professional Writer

By Allison Emm

Ellen Oh’s YA novel Prophecy hits shelves this January! We sat down recently with this lawyer-turned-novelist who talked to us about Prophecy and gave us four great things to think about for anyone who wants a career in writing.

As far as the novel is concerned, it sounds terrifying. The main character, Kira, "is a bit of a tortured soul," Ellen Oh, told us. "When she was young and first learned of her abilities to see and smell demons... she thought she was going crazy. As a child, she heard her uncle, the king, plot to have her killed, and everyone in the kingdom hates and fears her for being different."

We don't want to give away too much, but trust us when we tell you there are twists, turns, and lots of supernatural betrayal.

Getting to the point where Oh is as successful as she is now wasn't easy, though. Her life had as many twists and turns as one of her novels. She had some pretty awesome advice for any aspiring young women who are also interested in writing fiction for a living:

1. Exercise Different Parts of Your Mind to Write Good Fiction

"I don’t think that legal writing helps in writing fiction. But where it does help is having a very analytical mind filled with the possibilities of 'what if' and a meticulousness to research that I believe is very important to writing. Of course I was never as fond of legal research as I am of the research I do now! And as much of a research hound as I can be, I’m still not going to get everything right. But I feel comfortable enough to know I did my best."

2. Have a Support System

"Being a writer is a career built on the pain of rejections and constant criticisms. Even the thickest-skinned of us are going to hurt. We are going to have those moments where we spiral down into depression. That’s why it is so important for any writer to have a supportive network of friends and family, otherwise it would be almost impossible to survive in this business. We need to have that shoulder to cry on, an ear to vent in, and to hear the comfort that only a loved one can give us. This business is so tough. I can’t imagine going through it without my family and friends."

3. Write For Your Favorite People

"I wanted to write a book that my girls would read and enjoy. To also write a book that they could easily imagine themselves in because it had an Asian protagonist. And I also wanted it to be a book that they would be proud of their mother for writing. But most importantly, and really my ultimate driving motivation, is that I wanted to write a book about how everyone assumed that a hero of legend had to be a boy but ended up being a girl. I wanted to create a kickass girl character that didn’t need a boy to save her. Cause we don’t!"

4. Remember That Girls Can Do Anything!

"To all the fantastic, geektastic girls–Don’t let anyone ever tell you what you can or cannot do! Don’t ever let anyone put you down! You are stronger than you know. Repeat: YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU KNOW! As strong as you think you are? You are even stronger! Our strength lies deep within us, in our mind, in our hearts, in our compassion. Find that strength and trust in yourself and then you can succeed in whatever your goals might be."

Are you excited for Ellen Oh's new novel, Prophecy?

Tags: interviews, thrillers, ya fiction, books-and-comics, ya, ellen oh

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About the Author
Allison Emm

Allison Emm is a writer, illustrator, and handmade soap enthusiast hailing from Boulder, CO. She is fond of bookish and ruggedly handsome mountain men, blue spruce trees, birds of prey, starships, and yarn. See more of her high jinks at www.AllisonEmm.com, and follow her on Twitter @Allison_Emm.

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