What does it take to become a published author of fiction? Will power, says Aryn Kyle, author of the national best-selling young-adult novel The God of Animals.

Kyle served up sometimes harsh truths on what it takes when she appeared at Brookdale Community College last Wednesday as the first author in this year’s visiting writer series.

“The amount of time where writing is fun is a small percentage,” she told an audience of more than 100 students, faculty members, fans, and aspiring writers. “It’s fun to start something. It’s awesome to finish something. The middle is hard.”

The visiting writers series, which is open to the public, aims to draw a diverse group of authors working in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and even documentary filmmaking, said Suzanne Parker, an English professor who plays a big part in finding authors and putting the events together. Guest speakers from past series have including literary luminaries such as Rick Moody, Patricia Smith, former United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Paul Guest and Katja Esson.

While some audiences are more interested in the personalities of the speakers, said Parker, those who came out for Kyle wanted to pick her brain on craft, and she obliged.

“Sometimes you have to do a lot of ‘bad writing’ to get to the good stuff,” said Kyle, a 33-year-old Coloradan now living in New York. “I think a lot of times your subconscious will give you a lot of reasons to quit.”

She stressed that stamina and self-control are paramount to success, and that writers must ignore distractions like friends and family to get work done.

Kyle applied the same will power to publishers when trying to sell her work. Her work “either got accepted or rejected, and if it got rejected I’d send it out again, and if it got rejected again I revised it and sent it out again,” she said.

She dispelled many misconceptions about the writing industry, including the supposed importance of connections.

“Don’t ever panic about not knowing people,” she said. “I hear people talk about that all the time, and I think that that has almost nothing to do with anything. It’s the work.”

After reading an excerpt from her popular novel, Boys and Girls like You and Me, Kyle offered tips about writing and getting published during a Q&A period. Attendees asked her thought-provoking questions such as: “If you could write a book about any fictional character, who would you use and why?” She also ate dinner with about 25 English department students and faculty, which gave them a chance to meet the author and learn from her one-on-one.

Students were full of appreciation afterward.

“I think Aryn Kyle is an amazing writer with a unique style that sort of changes the way that you normally look at short stories and fiction,” said 18-year-old student Sam Rubinstein, of Marlboro. “It also shows her ability to use wit on relatively serious topics.”

“I thought it was really good, and she like, let you inside her brain, and you could tell how she goes through her writing process and stuff,” said  Jamie Nadzan of Brick.

For more information on Aryn Kyle, you can follow her on Twitter (@ArynKyle) or read her blog. Her short story, “Nine” is also available online for free.

Up next in the series: Kansas Poet Laureate, novelist, and Brookdale alumnus Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, on Tuesday, October 23.

Here’s the full schedule: Brookdale Visiting Writers 2012. Coffee and biscotti are served; a $3 donation is suggested. Each session will eventually be aired on Brookdale’s cable channel.











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