Be Bold, Be Daring, Be a Pirate
But not all pirates are created equal. The lazy, the sloppy, the careless wind up swinging from a rope or hanging with Davy Jones. It pays to know the so-called rules so that you know when you are breaking them and you do so with swagger, with style, with a purpose.
It's Who You Know
Yeah, it would be nice if Jeff Bezos happened to be your next door neighbor, or if Sessalee Hensley happened to be your husband's first cousin, but few of us are that fortunate. Besides I happen to view "IT'S WHO YOU KNOW THAT REALLY MATTERS" as more more Cerberian creature with three distinct heads. And not one of those craniums is tied to being kin with a giant in the business so this is no monster to fear.
|photo by ukdavew||via PhotoRee|
Head One - Network. Get to know other writers and people in the publishing business. Make friends with them. And by make friends I do not mean hound, harass, and harangue by pleading those folks to read your books. I mean interact, be sociable, be friendly. You can do this by attending conferences, workshops, facebooking, tweeting, and a variety of other means.
Head Two - Know your characters. Before you start writing their story. Sure surprises and new twists will develop but if you know your character beforehand the writing will go much smoother. I write vignettes for every character. I try to choose emotional significant events from the character's life. First kisses, traumatic heartbreaks, fights (verbal or physical) they may have had. I don;t try to make these complete stories but voyeuristic capsules into my characters emotional reactions at a variety of times in their life prior to the beginning of my story. For POV characters I write 5 or 6 of these and for secondary characters one or two.
Head Three - Know your audience. And write with them in mind. You have to please yourself first but by having a target audience will keep you on track.
Trust Your Gut
Unless of course it's telling you to eat a salad. In that case it is most likely possessed by the devil but that is a blog for another day. What I'm saying is writing is a personal endeavor and while you must be objective enough to realize constructive criticism when you see it, you smut also have to ability to politely smile and then do whatever the hell you think is necessary to tell the story you want told. If it feels wrong, even if your mentor, or JK Rowling, or a college professor with a PhD in English says so, have the conviction to leave it the hell alone. Write the story you want to write.
You started writing because you love with reading and great literature. You wanted to spin tales that other will talk about for years to come. You were eager to release the colorful and imaginary words swirling within your skull. It was fun to write ... right up until it became a publish at all costs quest. Right up until it became a business. Right up until it became deadlines, expectations, and disappointing rejections.
I'm not naive to think you can totally escape those shackles once they've clamped on, but as a guy who has struggled with this at times let me say it is important to sit back, breathe, and reflect every once in a while how and why you came to be chasing the writing dream. it is important to reread those authors and books that inspired you in the beginning. it is important to remember the joy of writing.
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