So, You want to write a book?
So, you want to write a book … and you’re wondering if you should read all the ‘How To’ books out there before starting. What about books on pacing, characters, grammar, setting the scene, mapping out the story, creating a beginning, middle, and an end . . . and it goes on and on and on and . . .
Yep, if you decide before you write word one – you are going to do nothing but research – then you’ll never write a sentence. I call it procrastination. Of course, this is my opinion. I firmly believe we learn to write – by writing.
When it comes to creative writing - I know there are authors who won’t agree with me. They’ll ask; “Why reinvent the wheel?” Don’t get me wrong, reading ‘how-to write’ books is a great way to learn – but it shouldn’t overshadow real writing.
I believe if you start writing you develop a natural flow – your style – and no stack of books can teach you that. Don’t taint your creative writing by trying to follow the steps of an established author. That is her/his style – not yours.
Don’t get me wrong, a beginning writer will find invaluable writing skills in the ‘how-to’ books out on the market. These books can improve your technical abilities and improve your writing skills. Just remember they are training tools – and you must take your own creative license to make a story yours – writing in your ‘voice.’
You accomplish this by writing – writing – and writing. Writing is 80% revisions – and that’s how you learn. You’ll never type a book from start to finish without revising and even re-writing. Each time you’ll learn something new … something that will polish the new story … something that you hadn’t mastered when writing before.
I must add, it’s wise listen to advice and comments from editors, agents, publishers, and established authors. You can learn so much from them if you respond to criticism with an open mind. Never take it personal. If you feel the suggestion is an improvement … go for it. If not … you have the right to ignore it.
When I first wrote my first book, Whispering Sun, my heroine was deaf the entire novel. An agent loved the story – but said, “You realize this book would be so much better if you could figure out a way to have the heroine get her hearing back early in the book.” OMG!! All I could think about is, I will have to rewrite the whole book. I didn’t want to do that. But, after thinking about it long and hard – and even if I truly didn’t want to – I rewrote the entire book. Best decision I ever made. The story is 95% better! It’s still my best seller year-after-year - even though I’ve written 19 books!
Best writing advice I was ever given – and I want to share it with you; “You’re only as good as your next book.”