Success Story Spotlight with Elizabeth Lim

Please share your exciting news!

I sold my Chinese-inspired YA fantasy, THE BLOOD OF STARS, in a two-book deal to Knopf!

How did studying/retreating at The Writing Barn support you in achieving this goal? What workshop/intensives/or classes have you taken with us?

I’d only been working on my manuscript for a few months, so taking the Writing That Pushes Boundaries workshop really helped me gain confidence in my story. I really appreciated the thoughtful critiques from the other workshop attendees, and Libba Bray and Barry Goldblatt’s lectures on digging deeper in one’s writing and silencing the inner judge — I really can be my own worst critic! And it was wonderful meeting so many writers from all over the country. I am still in touch with several of them.

How long have you been writing/pursuing an agent/publishing deal?

I’ve been writing ever since I was a young teen, but it wasn’t until I was in graduate school for music that I started to consider pursuing an agent/publishing deal. It took me some time to give myself permission to try becoming a writer, and it’s been a long road, but I’m glad I stuck with it!

Have you made friendships/colleagues as well? How has that supported you?

Yes! One of the reasons I was so excited to go to The Writing Barn was because I wanted to meet more writers. I was so impressed by how constructive everyone was during the critique sessions, and how serious everyone was about writing. I didn’t have many writing friends at the time, so it was incredibly fun and valuable for me to talk story as well as shop, and listen to how everyone discovered themselves as authors.

Why do you think attending workshops/classes is important to writers at all stages of their career?

I think it’s important to commit to improving your craft, no matter what stage you are at as a writer. There is always room to improve! One of the major reasons I decided to come to The Writing Barn was because I wanted to study with authors I admire, as well as meet other writers with the same passion for storytelling that I have. I also wanted to open myself up to constructive criticism (I’ve been told writers need to learn to build a thick skin!), so I very much appreciated the critique element of the workshop.  

Any advice you have for writers/creatives having trouble staying the course in pursuing their goals?

Make little goals instead of big ones. If you write 500 words a day, you’ll have a book in 100 days. That’s a lot easier to take in than telling yourself you have to write a book in 100 days. Don’t give yourself the goal of getting published in X-number of years. Finish one draft of the novel, revise, then revise and revise again and get feedback from others. Be grateful for thoughtful feedback, and even if you don’t agree with it, consider it. There is always something to be learned.

There will be lots of ups and downs, and some days you won’t want to write. It’s okay. Take a break, go for a walk, spend time with family and friends. Laugh, eat some chocolate, drink some wine, and get lots of sleep, then come back to it. Writing something worthwhile takes time, so don’t rush. It isn’t a race. One step at a time, and you’ll get there!

Elizabeth’s Bio

Originally from the Bay Area, California, Elizabeth Lim now lives in New York City with her husband. She is a classically trained composer, and prior to becoming an author, wrote music for film and video games. When she isn’t writing or composing, she can be found reading by the corner window in her apartment, scouring NYC for the best dim sum and blueberry pie, and trying to teach herself to draw. THE BLOOD OF STARS is a Chinese-inspired fantasy about a young tailor who must sew three magical dresses of the sun and moon and stars.

To learn more about Elizabeth’s forthcoming books, follow her on Twitter at @lizlim or visit her site: