Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Beginning Writers: Learn to Crawl Before You Run

Beginning Writers: Learn to Crawl Before You Run
by Beverly Oz

(reprinted from the Greenhouse on Wild Rose Press website)

Most new writers will never write 'the end'

At a local chapter meeting of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), I heard some staggering statistics about newbie writers. Most new writers will never write 'the end' on a full-length manuscript. They'll start the novel of their hearts, but for various reasons, will never finish the story.

Learning the craft can be overwhelming

Having spent the last three years on my first novel, I can certainly understand why so many newbie authors give up. Learning the craft of writing romance can be overwhelming. There are so many confusing rules and guidelines to follow (showing vs. telling, creating and maintaining goals, motivation, and conflict, POV, etc…), those without a handle on knowing what they are doing can quickly find themselves in over their heads. At that point a sink-or-swim mentality can take over. If the statistics are true, most newbie writers go under.

Baby steps. Start small and work my way up

While experiencing my own bout of career-stalling water sucking, the fates intervened with a lesson I should have learned from Mother Nature long ago. Baby steps. Start small and work my way up.

Like a newborn attempting to run a marathon, I simply didn't have skills or writing techniques at an advanced enough level to start and finish a 100,000 word novel. I needed to start small, to get my footing. After almost giving up on writing all-together, I swallowed my pride, and wrote a short story.

At only 5,000 words, finishing the story was relatively easy. But as I pounded out those few words I learned how to hone my craft. I had conflict, goals, and motivation. I had interesting characters and descriptions. All the pieces needed for a good, compelling story came together like a puzzle.

Everything clicked.

... gave me the confidence to continue writing

The sense of accomplishment I experienced at completing that story (which appeared in the October 2006 edition of True Romance) gave me the confidence to continue writing.

My second completed story was longer - 10,000 words. But not only did I up the ante by writing a longer story, I tried my hand at a paranormal erotica. I had never attempted writing in that genre or at that level of sensuality before, making the story a real challenge. But I took one baby step after another, and met the challenge head on. The experience forced me to stretch my skills and grow as a writer. I'm waiting to hear from a publisher who may or may not be interested in this story. But, even if I don't sell, I'm proud I finished another project I started.

My latest baby step is a 20,000 word novella that will be a part of a Christmas anthology published by The Wild Rose Press, an on-line publisher. The story, Tales From Christmas Town, is due out in November.

...writing short stories prepared me for the novel of my heart

Everything I've learned and all the confidence I've gained in writing the short stories has prepared me for the novel of my heart. Now that I've mastered how to crawl, I'm ready to beat the odds and try out my first real step into a full-length novel. Should be a walk around the park.

(reprinted with permission from 


Rhonda Penders said...

This is excellent information and serves the author to remember that sometimes its hard to see your own book through unbiased eyes. Learn to trust your cover artist and the in our publishing house listen to the marketing department. You may think a pink horse with rainbows coming out its eyes is clever but we know that no one is buying rainbow seeing horses right now. Let us help you get the best cover possible. Thanks RJ for a great post!


Rhonda Penders said...

oops posted on the wrong blog post - that was meant for the one before it on cover art.


brenda said...

For me the beginning and the end are the only aspects of my story that remain constant through the draft, the rewrite, the revisions, and the editing process. Typing The End, is what keeps me going.