This month I did two events designed to help others who always wanted to write a book, but were not sure where to start.
Writing a book can be both exciting and daunting, and surely won’t just happen overnight. It takes months or for some, even years to get the story down the way you like it. Trust me when I say this; this is the fun part, letting the imagination control the pen (okay keyboard) and writing a story.
Earlier this month, I was a guest on the show ‘CENTRAL VALLEY TODAY’ on KSEE 24. One of the questions the host, Alex Delgado asked me was, “What would I tell an aspiring author who wants to write a book?”
I always tell everyone the same answer! Just start writing, and don’t stop until the story is done. Stop worrying about how to do it correctly and just write the story. It doesn’t matter how bad the first draft is, it’s only a draft. Think of it like baking a cake. Your first draft is just laying out your INGREDIENTS on the counter.
When writing your first draft DO NOT edit or proof read it, this will slow down the creative process. You should just be writing and letting those juices flow, and of course have fun!
So now you got that first draft done, you wrote the story. No worries on how long it is, this will change. It’s an unfinished cake, you haven’t decorated it yet so stop being so critical of your work. You might want to share your work with everyone, but don’t! It’s really not that good yet, trust me.
At this point, read what you wrote, edit it, move things around, add, delete, research, fact check, and clean your manuscript up. You’re not trying to finalize it; you are just shaping it up here. During this process you will spend a great deal of time thinking instead of writing and this is okay.
Once you’re done with this first edit, it is time to hand it over to someone (an Alpha Reader) who you trust to read it and give you honest feedback. Someone not afraid to piss you off. Ask them to read it, edit it, and write down their constructive criticisms on the WIP (Work In Progress). You’ve done your job, now let them do theirs.
When you receive it back, don’t argue any points with your Alpha Reader, just listen. Change what you want and leave the rest, but listen to them.
Now rewrite the draft with any changes. After your done, this is when you either send it to a professional Editor and/or several of your friends (at least five people) who are called Beta Readers.
A Beta Reader can also be someone you know and trust that a good understanding of grammar. They can assist you with nailing down errors in the book and making more changes.
The second event I did this month was a panel discussion at the Book Barn in Clovis, CA. The panel discussed the many details in what it took to write the first novel.
One of the questions asked was what is the hardest thing about writing? Although I had many answers to this question, by far the hardest for me is giving my characters an individual voice, distinct, so clear that you know who is talking without me telling you ‘John said’. Have you ever read a book and you didn’t know who was talking, who the dialogue belonged to; that’s what I’m talking about. You as a writer will meet your own challenges, view it as such and not a roadblock. Master the challenge by going over your drafts, asking yourself, did I master the challenge? If not, then pepper it into the draft piece by piece until it’s just right.
Now your story is done and you’re ready to either send it off to potential publishers or self-publish… what, you don’t know how to do that either? Okay, no worries, subscribe to the newsletter and stay tuned so you don’t miss information on that next step.
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