This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
1. Write! It sounds obvious, but it’s the thing I hear the most: how much an aspiring author wants to write a book but they just can’t find the time or inclination. The only answer to this is to get on with it. Start something! Half the battle to getting published is in sitting down and slogging out 100,000 words. This might sound terrifying,but, like Jackie Collins says, if you manage 1000 words a day, you’ll have a book in less than four months. It doesn’t matter if you don’t rate your first draft – all first drafts need work. The point is that once you reach ‘The End’, you’ll have a complete manuscript to work on, edit, and eventually present to a literary agent.
2. It’s all about the story. Swathes of descriptive passages don’t move the plot along. Always look to be driving your story forward. A bit of description helps dress a stage, but too much is stifling – remember the reader is bringing her or his own imagination into play as well, so you don’t want to be over-prescriptive. Sometimes, if I’m stuck partway through a chapter, I’ll write a list of everything that needs to happen in those pages and then move on. I’ll return to this later and know the nuts and bolts of the story are there, even if the writing itself needs work.
3. Characters are your most vital assets. In some cases, get the characters right and they will lead the way. So … know them. It’s worth spending time on this before you dive in – the hardest books I’ve written are always those for which I didn’t have a proper hold on my characters beforehand. Try putting together a character sheet, where you pour out everything you know about that person. This can include details your readers might never discover: a favourite book, song or colour; what they’re afraid of; who their first love was. It’s so you know them inside out before you begin.4. Write what you love. Growing up, I was obsessed with Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins, and whenever I write glam-fiction today I’m transported back to those heady teenage summers. Choose a genre you love, read within it, borrow the aspects you love and then make it your own. 50,000 words into a book can be a lonely place, but if you can remind yourself why you’re doing it, it makes it a lot easier.
5. Grow a thick skin. Every author faces rejection at some point, so when you reach submission stage accept that you’re bound to hit resistance. This doesn’t mean your book is bad, or you’re a terrible writer, or you’ll never get published. Remember, you’ve done what 99% of aspiring writers haven’t – you’ve finished a novel! The vital thing is to believe in yourself, love your book, and persevere. You can get there!
Power Games by Victoria Fox is out now.