For those who are not published, it feels like such a huge mystery. Most aspiring authors don’t know what “they don’t know,” so it makes it hard for them to ask the right questions.
It takes so long to write a book, and then it takes more time to get it published. Is there any way to speed up the process?
Yes. Start with something smaller than a book. Write a non-fiction article; a non-fiction story, which is more entertaining than informational; short fiction, such as a short story; poetry; a book review; or letter to the editor. Publications to look for include magazines and newspapers; literary-type magazines, including my new magazine, Weeping Cherry International Review (http://weepingcherryinternationalreview.org); and daily magazines in most cities. Remember, even a letter to the editor published in a magazine or more often in a newspaper means that you have been published. When you list it in your bio, you simply list the name of the publication: “published in Daily Planet Newspaper.”
How do I get started?
This is one of the harder things that most aspiring writers face, and the answer is simple: START! No I’m not being condescending or funny! You simply start somewhere. Put some words on a piece of paper and move them around to make a sentence. String more sentences together into paragraphs. No, it really is this simple, but I also know how difficult this simple thing can be.
Pre-writing helps a lot. If you are writing creative stories, start with character development. If you need help in how to do this, my book 10 Ways to Develop Characters available on Amazon at http://publishwithconnie.com/10waystodevelopcharacters2. Please, leave me a review! Or a Character Development Course at http://publishwithconnie.com/courses-2/character-development-2/, which is a 4-part course and the first one is free.
Another part of pre-writing can be creating your plot, which we normally see as a series of plot points. Understanding where we begin, what happens in the middle, and how we end is part of every creative story. Novels have more than one plot going on in the book; whereas shorter fiction usually have only .one. To help you learn about this, I have a mini-course called Plotting Your Plot at http://publishwithconnie.com/courses-2/plotting-your-plot/.
I’ve heard that the first paragraph or first scene is the most important part of the book. How can I make that happen?
You are totally on the right wavelength asking this question! We always want to HOOK our reader and pull them through our work. What we want is to make it so exciting or intriguing that the reader doesn’t want to stop reading. If you are writing a book, we call this a page-turner!
Depending on what you are writing, you will want to write a strong opening. This applies to non-fiction, fiction, short fiction, and non-fiction articles, etc. Now that we’ve narrowed down what we mean by HOOKing your reader, let’s talk more about how to do that: start with a CONFLICT or PROBLEM! Most new or aspiring writers of fiction want to begin with the back-story, which is BORING!
Non-fiction writers want to give the whole history of whatever you’re writing about up to the current topic, which is BORING! Either way, you’ve lost your reader. They’ve moved on to something else.
So what can you do? Think of your non-fiction topic as a problem that you need to solve. You pose the problem, and then you solve the problem. In a book, you’ll divide the solution into pieces, which end up to be your chapters. In an article, these solutions might be sub-headings.
The problem in fiction might look more like a conflict. It’s still a problem in many ways. If you’ve read James and the Giant Peach, James’ problem is that James’ parents went to London to shop and got eaten by an angry rhinoceros, then he had to go live with his two aunts. This was James’ problem and the conflict began with his two aunts, who were not nice. What they put James though pulled you through the story. You had to keep reading to see what horrible thing the aunts were doing.
If you’d like a little bit more help, I have FREE Book called, Writing a Compelling Opening, which only requires that you sign up on Publish with Connie at http://publishwithconnie.com/free-gift/.