So, for the past few months, I’ve been trying to become a more serious writer. It has always been a dream of mine to have a book published and for people to actually read it. The problem was, I had no idea how to go about being a “real” writer. I wrote– I wrote every day, I wrote what I loved, I wrote what I knew– but when reading what I wrote I realized that simply writing isn’t enough. So I started looking into things and taking classes. It wasn’t until I was able to meet a real writer (Thank you again, Danica) that I started to understand just what was necessary to make a “real” novel. There is a lot that goes into it. I even swallowed my pride and bought Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies, a very helpful resource by Leslie J Wainger, a top romance editor (though I still object to being called a dummy.)
When I was doing all of this, I realized that there were some things that I was doing right and some things that I was doing very wrong. In case there is someone out there that is in the same position that I was, here are the top ten things I learned.
5. Write, write, write. It can be difficult to do so without encouragement and the first pages can be daunting, but if you don’t write consistently, you’ll never have anything to work with. I remember a couple of years ago I was moping about how I wanted to be a writer, but I never could be because I didn’t have a whole story and my sister encouraged me to write a page a day. A page a day doesn’t take much time and keeps you writing consistently.
4. Some ideas are good. Some suck. A good writer can make a sucky idea a great story and a bad writer can make even the best idea a travesty. So its important to hone your craft and become a good writer– as well as developing good ideas.
3. Concentrate. Finding a spot to work on your writing is important, as well as getting your friends and family on board with letting you do your thing. Otherwise there will always be something to distract you from your work– and your goals.
2. Don’t live in a bubble. This might seem contra to the last item, but its also important. There are plenty of great ideas for inspiration out there, and secluding yourself can sometimes keep you from them. It also helps you to see what ideas are selling, which is important when you are writing commercial fiction. Being out there, having a social presence, ext, can also help you to sell your book (so I’ve heard).
1. Research. Especially if you like to write historical fiction, like myself, this is vital. Nothing can pull a reader out of a story more quickly than a glaring inaccuracy. Admittedly this part can be a pain– you have no idea how long it took for me to discover how long it would take a carriage to get from Hertfordshire to London in 1817– but if you research something well and learn your topic, it helps pull a reader in, which is ultimately the goal.