WRITING A NOVEL? PART 4

WRITING A NOVEL? PART 4

Ready, Fire, Aim: Getting it wrong When I asked someone in a writing group what her story was about, she said she didn’t know. Said, “I simply start writing. Eventually, I find out the direction the story is taking.” Huh? I think that’s wrong. What about you? Do you know what your story’s about? Have you ever started a road trip, route planned, map ready, car fueled, only to find a detour along the way? What if we never make it to the destination? I’ve had some happy memories visiting unplanned places. But to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never started the car, heading down the road with absolutely no clue where I’m going. Okay, that one time might be blamed to too much . . . I think writing’s like that. That first sentence is pointing to the last, the finale. My characters take detours, often ending up in unplanned places, but they always seem headed toward that last sentence. If the story-line takes a detour and doesn’t get back to the map, it may require taking an editorial knife to it. Skip the editing, and you’re sure to get it wrong Informed that Beat leader Jack Kerouac never rewrote…

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WRITING A NOVEL? Part 3

WRITING A NOVEL? Part 3

If you read part one, aren’t intimidated by the sheer volume of competition, and still writing, congratulations. Telling stories is what writers do. Set aside dreams of fame and fortune. Those are byproducts for the lucky few. They’re lucky because they kept writing, improving, writing, improving, writing . . . Well, you get my drift. Part two was the starting point. “I never metaphor I didn’t like,” said Mardy Grothe. I agree. So, here’s mine for today. Writing is like swimming naked in a crowded pool. It takes madness or courage to strip naked like that. Yet, writers do that metaphorically. Some have the self-confidence to do it. If you don’t, the criticism will be embarrassing. Part three is about commitment and perseverance. How many times have I had some tell me they would love to write a book or story, but they don’t have the time. Balderdash. We make time for the important things. When I hear someone say that, I know they’re wannabe writers. It sounds glamorous to say, “I’m an author.” Hah, the dirty secret is . . .  Drumroll please, time commitment and sweaty work. Do I mean ignoring family and friends? Do you skip your…

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WRITING A NOVEL? DO THE MATH

WRITING A NOVEL? DO THE MATH

Part one in a series One million books will be published next year in the U.S. Seven hundred and fifty thousand will be self-published. The average length of a novel is estimated to be 60,000 and 70,000. I decided to thread the needle and use 65K, coming up with 48,750,000,000 words self-published each year. That’s 48 in billions. My 89,342 words face a daunting challenge. Who wants to be a writer? Justine Goldberg, writing in Publishing Perspectives, claims 200 million Americans say they want to publish a book. Wow. Talk about competition. I sometimes feel like Forrest Gump when he decided to stop running. Is it time to stop writing? No, it can’t be That can’t be. I can’t stop. Writing is hard-wired into my DNA. It’s nothing to do with competition. It’s not about how many words I’m up against. I’m not finished telling stories! Get it right Even if 750,000 books are published next year, most will be third-rate, at best, according to Joseph Epstein in The New York Times. In the Publishing Perspective article, Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks said, “Self-published books are uniformly badly published.” Tom Dever, TLC Graphics and Narrow Gate Books, added, “If a book…

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