Once people find out I’m a published author, I typically get one of two responses: 1) I’ve always wanted to do that, or 2) How do you do that? Today author Joanie Bruce offers good advice for those of you who want to know how to get started in publishing. Joanie …
Have you ever dreamed of becoming an author and filling the pages of a book with your knowledge or creativity? I think most people have a deep yearning to see their name printed on the front of a book as a published author. That item on your bucket may never be realized if you’re not exactly sure where to start. If that is the way you feel, this blog is for you. I have six suggestions that will help you become a writer.
1) Read, read, read. My first suggestion is an easy one: Read everything you can get your hands on in the genre you’re interested in. But don’t just read; READ and STUDY. Study the characters, the plot, the source of conflict, the scene locations, interesting phrases. Become an observer, and learn from what you observe.
2) Just start. Think of an idea and write it down on paper—a simple thought, or maybe a similar plot derived from a story you read and loved. (You can always make it your own by changing the characters, scenes, or circumstances to make it different.) My first book started with a simple thought: A woman is being stalked, but she doesn’t know why. My second book started with the idea that a woman is thrown out of her home because of something she couldn’t remember doing. These were both single concepts, but with a little work they blossomed into books.
3) Now add to your initial idea. Sit down with a piece of paper and start brainstorming: Write down every thought that comes into your head about that simple situation. Answer the questions who, what, where, when, why, and how. Think of an important goal the main character has to reach then name several conflicts that would hinder the main character from reaching his/her goal. Even a simple love story becomes a page-turner when there is conflict thrown into the works. Brainstorm about your characters and flesh out an interesting personality for each one.
4) Develop an outline. A man named Randy Ingermanson came up with a system called the “Snowflake method.” Using this method will help you develop an outline for a more complicated plot from the jumbled thoughts you’ve written down during your brainstorming session. You can find the Snowflake Method by clicking here.
5) SHOW, DON’T TELL. When you write, use all five senses whenever possible. Here is an example: “The tunnel wall was rough” can be made more interesting by saying, “The roughness of the cement wall scraped her bare arm as she ran through the narrow passage.”
6) Set an attainable goal for writing: Now that you have an outline and an idea how to proceed, make a goal: Write a certain number of words each day. Begin with the chapter you believe would be the mostfun for you to write. You don’t have to start at the beginning—you can start with the ending if that chapter screams at you that it wants to be written first. Just write, and don’t look back … yet!
7) Now you can look back … and edit: Once you’re done writing, the editing process begins. If you’re not sure how, here is a great book to use for reference: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King. You can also ask a friend to read your manuscript with non-biased eyes and look out for any mistakes. After you are done with all these steps, let it rest for a couple of weeks before returning to read it with fresh eyes.
Now … you have no excuse. Prod that writer inside of you to action, and don’t give up! It takes a long time to write a book, but if you write a little each day, before you know it, you’ll have a completed manuscript to send to a publisher. Good luck! And Happy Writing! J
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About the Author:
After writing simple picture books for children and mysteries for teens, Joanie found that her passion for writing exploded when she started working in suspense fiction. As an avid reader, she welcomed the transition from reading to writing and considered it a wonderful new experience to please others with her words instead of visual means.
As an artist, Joanie’s primary goal is to achieve a strong likeness of her subject, while portraying it in the most complementary setting. Her greatest joy is realized in providing her customers with a cherished reminder of someone or something very dear to them – a work that will stand the test of time.
Connect with Joanie
If you like clean, Christian fiction with a lot of suspense and a touch of romance, be sure to check out her book Alana Candler, Marked for Murder and A Memory Worth Dying For (which just earned a 5-Star rating from Reader’s Favorite!), both available at Amazon, Christianbook.com, and other national retailers.