There was a time when I was sure my stories were just an outlet for me. And to a large extent, they still are. But, now being on this side of a contract, writing takes on a whole new dimension. I can say that I wrote my book, which is soon to be published, without knowing all of these “writing rules” that are impressed upon authors these days. But I think the editing process would have been far less painful had I been aware of these “rules”. What rules am I referring to? Limiting adverbs, being careful to stay in one character’s head per scene (a simple rule, but it’s easy to break when you’re just not aware of it), showing not telling, among other things that I am still learning.
So, I am going through a crash course. And it is good, but it is hard sometimes. Especially when I’m having to hack up my work which I am so attached to. It would have been so much easier to have done these things on the front end.
Where am I getting my crash course, you wonder…well, there are a few sources. And I’m all too happy to share. Working with my publisher has been one, of course. They sent me an author packet that contained a lot of helpful information on what they were looking for in pre-edits. This was an education for me.
Even before that, though, I was already learning through a writer’s group I had joined locally. The Clarksville Christian Writer’s Group has only met a few times, but I have already gleaned much from the wisdom of our fearless leader. She pointed me in the direction of a couple of books which have gone a long way toward educating me on how I write my character’s emotional reactions and perceptions. It’s helped me move more toward “showing and not telling” in my writing on the front end.
Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View and The Emotion Thesaurus are the books I am referring to. If you are writing already and have not visited these tools, or are interested in writing, I strongly recommend these books.
My querying was greatly helped by a literary agent who calls herself “Query Shark“. Be forewarned, she’s harsh, but she’s right.
I talk a lot about my Beta Readers, but they were valuable to me in this process. Feedback, feedback, and more feedback. It can only make your work stronger.
Lastly, I must say that a good strong dose of determination is a must. You are the only one that can move your work forward. So, you have to be determined to do it. To just sit down and make it happen sometimes. I don’t always feel like writing…and that’s when I’m tempted to put it off. But I have learned that if I’ll just start writing something, then soon enough, the juices will be flowing. I just have to make myself do it.