Writing Stories: The Experience of Nyxia’s Author Scott Reintgen

Writing with Scott Reintgen

Writing with Scott Reintgen

Bruna Souza, Staff Writer

Last month, students at Waltham High School were introduced to the author of one of the summer reading books: Nyxia. Scott Reintgen is an accomplished author. He wrote not only the Nyxia trilogy but also the Talespinners series, the Ashlords series, and The Problem With the Prophecies. Now he’s about to publish his next book, A Door in the Dark. Scott answered many questions related to the book, but also to his experience as an author. 

If you are someone who loves to write, Reintgen has great advice for you. When he was interviewed at the WHS library during the author visit, he mentioned that he tried many times before his first book got published. “It’s really important not to give up when working on a writing project. Making mistakes is part of the process, and working through those mistakes guarantees that your writing will become stronger,” said Reintgen. He was able to learn from his mistakes and persevere through his challenges as a writer. He continued to write and now his 10th book is going to be published, given most authors only ever write one book. 

Another important lesson to learn in writing is to be open to constructive criticism. The author of Nyxia learned a lot from other authors in his career. One of the things he learned from another author is that when writing a book, the most important thing is that you love your book first.

I was once told by another author that if you write the book you think someone else will love, and they don’t, then no one loves it. But if you write the book that you love, then you guarantee that at least one person in this world loves it. And the likelihood of other people loving it is higher that way too!” said Reintgen.

This is great advice for any kind of writing. If you’re writing a book, poem, article, essay, or any other kind of writing, always make sure you love what you write. Something else to take away from this is to learn to listen to any suggestions others might have, especially if they are someone who has experience writing. This allows you to have a wider perspective of how to develop your writing. If you do it all on your own, it’ll be easy to let things go unnoticed, that otherwise you might have had the chance to fix or improve.

A trusted reader doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who has a lot of experience though. Maybe what your story needs is the help of someone who can somehow connect to the story. For example, Reintgen told me that when he was writing Nyxia, he wanted to write a book that his students would enjoy. Since he was a teacher at the time, he wanted his students to be interested in his book. He accomplished that goal by inviting his students into the process so he could improve his writing.

I also asked Reintgen about the challenges he faced in building his writing life. He said he experienced all kinds of challenges with “worldbuilding that doesn’t make sense. Characters who don’t really click. Plots with gaping holes in them.” Writing is not easy, and building a story that makes sense takes time and constant revision. 

Although writing can be fun, it presents the author with roadblocks that can be stressful and time-consuming to work through. But it’s important to recognize the problems in a story and seek solutions for them if you want it to result in a good story. 

I actually have started thinking of revision as one big ‘problem, solution’ game. The edit presents you with dozens of problems, and your job as the author is to get in there and solve them all,” shared Reintgen. 

If you’re stuck or struggling with a section of the story, take breaks. Taking breaks allows you to clear your mind, and a surge of new ideas to appear. When students were asking questions to Reintgen last month, he mentioned writing for too long isn’t effective and that he liked going on walks when he was stuck on a part of a book. Taking walks is one of the many ways you could take your mind off the story for a bit and unconsciously allow your mind to wander toward an idea that will solve your problem.

Lastly, Reintgen said he has three big pieces of advice for anyone interested in writing. The first one is to ‘really get into the habit of writing.” The second piece of advice is to “read like a writer and learn from other authors.” The third and last piece of advice is to “find a writing community.” 

So there you have it, don’t give up on writing when it gets hard. Seek to compose something that you’re passionate about, and believe in yourself, because if you do, you’ll certainly create something new that no one’s ever seen before. You hold the power in your imagination to create writing pieces that hold unconditional meaning.