Where Readers & Writers Connect
A novel lives inside the heart of everyone. Some people take the time to begin writing their story, but the words fade and interest gets lost. Others continue writing until the story finds its end, only to tuck it away in the dark drawer of a desk. A limited few will keep that story out in the light – tending it until it can stand on its own.
Let the novel stay hidden in your heart or set it free into the world? Simply make the choice. And here are some tips to get you started.
It is really that simple. Unless you write the story in your mind, you will never get the story onto paper. Another author friend was telling me about his unfinished novel. His wife complained that she no longer wanted to read anything he started because he never finished.
“Just finish it,” I suggested. He did, and two weeks later, he won a contest held by a small publisher and his novel was published.
Being a part of groups that will encourage me to write helps me. I think being part of a writing group that meets at least twice a month would be ideal, but I live in a small community where there are none. So, I meet with other writers online. The encouragement of others can provide the fuel to motivate the action of putting words down.
Another great writing experience is National Novel Writing Month. The challenge to write, backed up by the encouragement and experience of others, can ignite your desires to see it through.
No matter how you have to go about it, get going. A writer must write.
The end is only the beginning. Review the plots and subplots, take a closer look at the characters, and revise until you create something you would want to read. Sometimes it requires tweaking, but there are times when entire scenes and characters may have to be deleted. When you do, set the scenes aside for a new life on another day.
I thought that I could write books the same way that I write other projects. Put the words down, do a quick spell check, get someone to do an edit, and then hit print. I was wrong. Going through the manuscript a second time – and rewriting the whole thing – let me find new parts of the story and characters that would have remained hidden had I not taken the extra step.
A successful writer writes – and then molds those words until they are ready to face the world on their own.
Review the manuscript for spelling errors, words used incorrectly, and changes in tense (just to name a few). Find the problems, or a reader will be happy to point them out to you down the road. Be willing to cut, crush and kill the words so carefully crafted and you will find that the manuscript on the other side was worth the effort.
I did several edits of RUN and then took several days to read the entire manuscript out loud. Hearing the words can help you find any problems in the flow. I discovered that some phrases felt overused, others felt out of place, and some just needed a new home.
Write, edit and repeat until you have the manuscript you know you would want to read.
Get different eyes to read your manuscript. You may want to consider a professional critique, or you may have an acquaintance that will be open and honest. Be open to what four or five others have to say about the words you hold so dear.
I let several friends read my manuscript and asked them to be brutally honest. I figured that if it was not hurting, then I was not getting anywhere. I took their remarks and drafted changes that I allowed some strangers to read (as well as my 13 year old son). I used their remarks and comments to draft even more changes.
Nothing changes until something changes – and if I want the manuscript that sings then I have to be willing to change the words that I put down in the beginning.
Write and then share your work with a chosen few to bring your work to a higher level.
Read your revised, edited and reviewed manuscript one more time. Feel the story and experience the characters. See through the eyes of your readers and then you will know if your words are ready to face the world.
Remember, writing is not just a job – it is a repetitive job that has made better men cry. But it is also an adventure worth the troubles.
Kathryn Lang is the author of the debut novel we are featuring this week, Run. The author wants everyone to enjoy her new book so it will be free for Kindle TOMORROW Only, Friday June 8!