My main piece of advice would be don't worry about being published - just write a really good book, but also don't be afraid to write a bad book. Give yourself permission to fail, and don't be afraid.
There's no such thing as a perfect person, so it makes no sense to write a perfect person. I don't know any author who'd try. And we write characters, not representations of groups.
The important thing is for the characters to feel real, and to be given the humanity they are due. That granting of humanity is what separates a full portrait from a stereotype.
Readers embrace all kinds of characters as long as they are written with emotional truth.
I can honestly say I've never thought for a second about whether a character reflects poorly on any group. All that matters to me is that the character is true to my belief in who he or she is.
I love bouncing my words off of someone else's, and the fact that writing a story with someone else guarantees you'll get something you never, ever would have written on your own.
People read vampire novels and say, 'Oh I want to read another vampire novel.' People read fantasy, and they're like, 'Oh I love fantasy.' I don't know that people are necessarily finishing 'Hunger Games' and immediately wanting to read another dystopian tale.
I don't want to steal anybody's story. I very much want to use the stories that I hear to get lost in my mind, to tell a larger story.
One of my best friends is named David Leventhal, and it has always been a constant source of amusement to see how the similarity and differences play out in our lives.
It's almost scary how amateur I am when it comes to musicals - I'm a musical goer, but I am not as obsessed with musicals as perhaps some of my theatrical friends are.
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