I haven’t written nearly as many books as my fellow MSW bloggers. I’m the newbie to this business and have no problem admitting it. I’ve watched a few friends suddenly get published and remove themselves from their “learning circles.” Now they are experts. They don’t need to attend classes or take workshops. They’ve made it and it’s smooth sailing from here on out.
Anyone else know authors like this?
I’m still learning, and I have no doubts that I will continue to learn with each book. I don’t have much of an ego. I’m always reading articles, blogs, and other fiction, searching for insight into improving my books.
I’m working on my fourth book with my developmental editor. If you plan to self-publish, find an awesome developmental editor. News flash: your book isn’t as good as you think. Find a well-known, proven professional to evaluate it. These people possess a special gift. Look in the acknowledgements of books you love and hunt down their editors. Not a copy editor. A story editor. These are two distinct professions.
Here’s what I’ve learned on this fourth book.
- Use your time wisely. Waiting for ideas to come to you does not work. You have to apply yourself and seek them out. I’ve never been the writer with a million ideas and no time to write them all. I’ve had to grovel and beg for every scrap of an idea from my brain.
- Villain. Know him inside and out. Don’t wait, thinking his motivation will make itself obvious. Give him one! If it doesn’t work, change it.
- Know your ending. This is your destination and goal. This is the first book where I didn’t know what would happen at the end. I thought it’d come naturally as I got closer. WRONG! I need an address to pop into my GPS to guide me. I learned on the third book that plotting about three chapters ahead works well for me. I followed that with this book, but without my big ending in mind, and I got lost.
This book is heavy on the rewrites. A first for me. And it’s a process I don’t care to repeat. But I won’t kid myself. Writing is rewriting. This is my career now, and undoubtedly I’ll be in this place again. Hate your manuscript? Rewrite the damned thing until it’s right. I’ve hated this book for a few weeks now. But with my editor’s thoughtful comments, I saw my errors. I went back, ripped out a suspense thread, tightened up my villain’s journey, and changed some points of view. Suddenly it’s working and I love it.
Authors, what did your latest book teach you about your writing process? Readers and authors, have you ever had a run-in with an author with a giant ego?
*Stephen King image partial credit goes to my husband. He pasted together this image and quote and posted it on Facebook a year ago. It’s been shared thousands of times.
My third book, BURIED, released last week. Here’s the blurb: Eighteen years ago, Chris Jacobs walked out of the forest, the lone survivor of a school bus load of children who’d vanished two years before. His memory was gone, his body beaten and emaciated.
Today, the sad remains of the missing children have been discovered along with evidence that they were held captive for years. But investigative reporter Michael Brody’s brother is still missing. He sets out to question Chris, hoping his memory has returned.
Constant fear of being found by his kidnapper has driven Chris into hiding. The only lead Michael has is Chris’s sister, Jamie. As they race to find Chris, Michael and Jamie somehow find each other among the decades of wreckage. But locating Chris may not be so easy. Now grown, his scars go far deeper than skin.