SABF Authors Offer Advice for Young Writers

  • October 31, 2016
SABF Authors Offer Advice for Young Writers - San Antonio Book Festival

We asked SABF authors to share some words of wisdom for our young aspiring writers who are submitting to our annual Fiction Contest. Read on to learn what they had to say and be sure to check out our fun video compiling their writing advice.

(Don’t forget to submit a story on the theme of “Building Bridges” to our Fiction Contest!)


Xavier Garza

Xavier Garza“We all have cuentos/stories, and that is why anybody can write a book. We all have things that have happened to either us, or to people that we know. We all have that mother, father, grandmother that keeps telling us the same stories over and over again, and all those stories can one day become the foundation of your book. That is why we should treasure those stories that you hear. that is why you should put them down on paper and treat them as the wonderful family heirlooms that they are.”

David Liss


david-liss“Learn to read like a writer. When you read something you enjoy, figure out what the author is doing to make you interested. If you read something you don’t like, where has the author gone wrong. Always try to see the tools other writers use in their own work.”



Guadalupe Garcia McCall

guadalupe_garcia_mccall“The best advice that I give any young writer is to be fearless. Don’t be afraid to take serious risks with your writing.Writing is one of those jobs that takes a lot of courage, a lot of corazón. 

I used to think I wasn’t good enough to write because I was a Spanish speaker and my grammar skills were sorely lacking. I thought because I’d never left my little patch of land along the border of the Rio Grande I wasn’t worldly enough, that I hadn’t traveled enough to write things that mattered to the rest of the world. I believed that I didn’t have the right words, didn’t know the names of objects and things outside my culture, so I had nothing to write about. I thought I was limited by the idioms and vernacular of the region where I was born and raised.

Was I ever wrong!

The truth is that all of those things I thought were so wrong with me: my culture, my language, my place in the world, those things made my writing special. I have a different perspective than the rest of the world. My point of view is important and meaningful and relevant because at the core of every human being we are all the same. We are born, we live, we dream, we love, we die, and no matter how we do it, we all do the same things.

Don’t worry about whether your writing will be well received, awarded honors, or even accepted by those who would try to silence you. Ignore the censors. Write with passion and conviction. Write with valor. Write with nerve. We are brothers and sisters in writing because we share the same experiences. Like stars in the universe, we open our hearts and shine our light with our own special hue, our own special brilliance. There is nothing more beautiful than fearless writing. Nothing’s stronger than a daring word.”

Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye“Write from your heart and experience. Remember that metaphors belong to fiction writers just as much as they belong to poets – how many kinds of bridges are there? If you’re feeling blocked, let your characters talk to one another instead of you talking – put them into conversation.”

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