The Blind Leading the Blind #MFRWAuthor #BlogHop Week 51
Hello everyone, and welcome back to another MFRW Author Blog 52-Week Challenge, and with this being Week 51, the challenge posed is: Advice to New Authors.
I laughed when I saw this week's challenge because I define myself as being a New Author!
Well, maybe not technically, but most definitely literally because while I've been 'writing' since the 5th grade, I am only recently ePub established.
It takes me far, too long to accomplish what others simply decide to do, do it, and keep going like it's supposed to work that way.
I guess I am my own worst enemy (in that regard and a few others), so advice-wise, it might be best for aspiring authors to dig deep down into their soul and decide if this truly is their life-long passion, and if so, grab it with gusto, confidence, and a willingness to slog through a number of dry spells, rejection issues, and unfavorable critique.
Study, study, and study some more as well.
Write What You Know doesn't mean you have to live it in order to be able to write it.
If that were true, there would be no Regency Romance or Time-Travel Romance or Historical Romance, or Victorian Romance or Wild-Wild West Romance, or...
What the seasoned authors know is that the key to success in any writing endeavor is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK... and in this case, we are talking Research.
You are lucky in that the computer has a host of information for you to browse, read, and learn from in order to KNOW what you are writing about for your own novels.
You may never get to Oregon, but Google Earth can take you there!
My generation used to sit on an uncomfortable wooden chair in a library for an entire day lugging super-heavy tomes from one end of the building to another in order to turn actual paper pages looking for data and facts on customs and climate and dialect and migration and foods and flora/fauna, and a whole host of other relevant information in order to feel confident enough to write not what is personally experienced but NOW KNOW based on all that research.
Read a lot of books from your favorite genre in order to pick up things like style, transition, and flow.
A lot of folks will tell you that it is best or wisest to read a wide variety of genres, but if you are like me, that isn't as easy as one might think.
While I do enjoy the occasional mystery, a classic keeper, or even non-fiction once in awhile, my go-to reads have always been Romance, and I tend to prefer Regency to Contemporary even though MY specialty is Contemporary.
I'm just not interested in Horror, Monsters, Robot Wars, Epic Journeys of the Teen variety, YA anything, Steampunk, Erotica, or Mainstream depressing 'this is real life' reading and would never think to purchase it much less slog through the pages trying to enjoy or understand it.
I don't believe that not being interested in a wide variety of books in a vast array of genres is key to being a success, and neither should you.
So, my advice to you, as a newbie to the world of writing, would be to stick with what you love in order to figure out what works, what doesn't, and where YOU fit into the genre you want to write.
This might ruffle some feathers, but please do yourself and your readers a huge favor by studying up on grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
If you are a Publisher-based first-time author, don't assume your editor will actually do their job because that doesn't seem to be the case today.
If you read enough you will soon discover how many so-called Editors don't actually read the entire novel they are servicing because after the first few chapters, things start to go downhill at a rapid and jarring pace.
It is a wise author who does 100% of the Editor's work BEFORE said Editor has supposedly reviewed your work and submitted it to the printer.
Use spell-check, but use it wisely, which just means keep a paperback Dictionary nearby when you're writing.
Go online or take an evening course if they are offered nearby, and learn sentence structure, what a colon is and how it works in a sentence, when to use who and whom, where commas actually go and not where you think they go, and then dig a bit deeper to learn parts of speech.
Diagramming is an old-school lesson I think every author deserves to learn, and there are a number of on line examples for your convenience.
If you can diagram a complex sentence, you should have no trouble knowing where all of the above goes and how it all works to make a complete and readable sentence.
Even if you are a professed know-it-all like me in that regard, you'll be surprised (like me) to find that SOME of the things you thought you knew are actually wrong or misconceptions or just plain whoops!
Like, it's actually whether, and not whether or not.
And even though I'm American, the nuns taught me to say towards, forwards, and backwards, which are actually British.
Just remember that while most people DO tend to speak informal, and that some use strange dialects while others use words/phrases that are either archaic to some or downright foreign to others, it is not the same thing when reading those words and sentences.
Yes, it's okay when writing dialogue; no it isn't advised to write the entire novel that way.
If you will at least believe that a fragment is NOT a sentence, that is half the battle (for starters).
You don't want a lot of your readers leaving negative comments at Goodreads and on Amazon because you wrote your entire novel "like a kid in the 8th grade".
Be kind and thoughtful to your readers, which is just another way of saying future fan base!
Being thin-skinned is not entirely conducive to a productive and happy career as an author, so be forewarned.
Know that you are not perfect and are in need to assistance on all sides, and eventually you will begin to discern helpful advice from sour grapes or jealousy within and without the industry.
Listen with an analytical mind to criticism and take the time to learn the difference between constructive and destructive forms all the while thanking each of them regardless.
Become acquainted with and accustomed to BETA Readers, Promotional Networks, and if you are lucky, your local Author's Groups.
Join your fellow wanna-be authors in the struggle to become what you've set your heart on being throughout life.
It can only help.
Train yourself if you have to, but limit your on line time to a bare minimum if you want to be a productive and more immersed writer.
Spending too much time on Social Media, Netflix, or Buzzfeed is not a good idea if Writing is your intended goal.
Yes, you'll need to socialize within the industry and especially among your fans once that starts to take place, but if you truly want to write novels that are worthwhile, will sell, and that read well enough to grow an audience, you need to spend more time writing than you do browsing, lurking, and staring at a screen for hours on end.
Dry spells, or writer's block, will occur now and then, so relying on the Internet for something to do is fine, but it might be a better idea to use that blackout period for further research, more Genre-choice reading, and outside in the real world socializing or just for the sake of getting out and doing something different.
Just remember to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul once in awhile to keep your sanity AND your brain cells working.
and if I may...
Be the author who writes original work from an unconventional mind.
Avoid the bandwagon traps set out for you at every turn and write what you want to write -- about what you want to write about.
Not what is trending, hip, now, and what every other author has already written about.
People are funny in that they tend to want what everyone else wants until they get it, and then they form their own opinions... which sadly end up in a Review claiming you (as an author) are very unoriginal and boring because you just wrote a similar story to the one they REALLY LIKED by another author.
(I've read dozens of similar reviews, so believe me, it happens)
Yes, it is laughable, but at the same time, it is sad because falling into such a trap might be difficult to escape in a budding career.
Don't be afraid to be yourself and do your own thing!
Leave the formulaic writing to those authors who are sucked into the whirlwind that is 'fill-in-the-blanks' writing and let the fans come to you based on your own merit instead.
The money will follow, I'm pretty certain.
Thank you for dropping by to read my post!
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