Thursday, July 21, 2005

Tips and other information that may be useful for new writers

This section of my main review site [Click here to go back to the review site!] has been put together by Skarr One, the author who has currently volunteered his services to review ebooks submitted per Submission guidelines

GENERAL INFO THAT MAY HELP NEW AUTHORS : (by Skarr One)

1. The most difficult thing in any writing project is to start somewhere and above all, start writing.

2. Most people have difficulty in pursuing their writing projects because they think about it a lot before doing anything. They may think about what they are going to write, the theme, where to start and a hundred other things. However, the most important thing is to actually start writing, put pen to paper or bang away at the typewriter or keyboard. I use the computer mostly and MS Word is great for writing a book.

3. So, my brief advice to those who are planning to pour out the novel already within you, start today and just write, write, write. Don't be worried if you haven't figured out your story yet or if all your characters are not in place. Once you start, things will fall in place as you keep plugging along.

4. Devote a specific time of day, a number of hours per day or whatever you think best, as there are no set rules. However, do not forget to write something.

5. What has really worked for me is to write whatever comes into your head and just allow your mind to pour out its thoughts on paper or on the screen. If you do this every day, in a few days, you will have quite a bit of what may seem like nonsense or even gibberish at times but you'll be pleasantly surprised when you start editing the stuff you've written. A few gems invariably can be found and you then wind up with a few pages of usable copy. So write every day and at the end of a week, read what you've written and try to extract a page or even a few lines of usable copy. If you do this without fail each day, you'll be surprised how quickly your work adds up.

6. A writer needs a lot of patience as most works, especially novels take a lot of time. By a lot of time, I mean a lot of time - months, even years, depending on how well researched you want your work to be.

7. Research is particularly important in historical novels as you need to give your readers an authentic feel for the history of those times. Depending on the time period, you need to know the important events of those times, how it affects the characters in your novel or story and more importantly, the long term effects of certain events, based upon the recorded history of what actually happened. Another thing is to pay attention to detail, to know the names of everyday objects, how the houses, the kitchens, the gardens, etc. were designed and other little details that would convey that feeling of history, as you take your readers to a different time and place. Books are the only way you can transport yourself in the past and no movie can ever convey the rich detail that will help readers make this journey than a good, well researched book. Ultimately, the authenticity lies in the details but you should not overwhelm your story either, which is the most important aspect of any work of fiction. [If you're looking to base a novel in ancient Rome, there is a great site which may help you in doing your research. Check out http://www.unrv.com and join the Forum, where you can read various posts and also share your project with others. There is a lot of well researched historical data on that site, which is available for free]

8. No matter how well researched your novel is and no matter how good you are as a writer in manipulating words or conveying the thoughts and feelings of your characters in an authentic, historical setting, the key to any work is the overall story. This cannot be overemphasized as you need to engage the readers, make them curious about the characters and also your story. Without a good story, no novel can progress and you may have to make tough decisions at times, to excise portions or sub plots which have nothing to do with your main story. If you write say, 150K words, you may have to cut out 50K words which slow down your story or take your readers down a different path halfway through your book. Don't lose your main thread and keep coming back to it, if you do need to focus on an important sub plot.

9. It doesn't matter if you don't have the story all figured out before you start writing though. This is typically a work in progress and the main thing is to write,write,write and then edit,edit,edit and keep repeating these over and over until you have enough material to make a story out of it.

10. Time, patience and hard work - that's what makes a writer and if people think writers have it easy, think again. It's more hard work than you can imagine and the choices you sometimes have to make are agonizing as you may fall in love with your characters or with certain portions of the book or with your own writing. These are all typical pitfalls and you must be firm, if you want to really come out with a good product in the end.

I hope these tips will be useful to new authors or those who are aspiring to write something but have never yet begun to do so. Well, don't wait but start today. Even if you write ten pages a day and get one page of useful copy, you'll have at least a 100 pages done in three months. You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish if you just spend a few moments every day without fail and keep chugging along.

Good luck and above all, enjoy your time writing and let your thoughts flow as you need to free your mind and unlock the creativity that exists in every human mind.