|Posted by Brandy Potter on January 21, 2013 at 1:35 PM||comments (2)|
So you want to write……
So….. How do you get started? Well the standard answer is that you just do and while that may seem to be over simplistic it is the way that you start.
So many people say to me “I want to write a book about xyz, but how do I know it will sell.”
The truth is you don’t and the odds are it won’t. Discouraging I know but it is in fact the truth. Publishers do not take risks on unknown unrepresented authors and agents do not usually take unsolicited materials. How does one break in you may ask, well it takes a lot of persistence and a TON of luck. I myself have written three novels and only have one published by a small company. I do not write to sell books. I write to write and that is the truth of it.
If one sets out into writing to sell books they may as well go to the Harlequin website and look up what books they are looking for. Hell, Harlequin even gives you a formula for how they want their books written.
The key to writing is that you write what you think you need to write. Now, I have not ventured into the world of non fiction far enough to give a good dissertation as to how to write it. What I can tell you is that if you think the world needs a book about how to change the carburetor in a ’67 Chevy, and then write it. This blog will deal primarily with fiction and so you can take things that work for you out of it I will be very pleased if you do.
However, the key to getting started with writing fiction is simple. Write a story that you will enjoy reading again and again. After all the best books are those that you find yourself reading more than once, not the ones that you read once and never pick up again. For me that includes descriptive writers that use witty dialog and strong characters. For others it will be something else.
Here is an example: The author of the current world famous sparkly vampire series had a dream about two people in a meadow and wanted to write the story of how they got there. That translated into 4 more books. The author of the most famous wizard series came up with the idea on a train and most of the world knows that the famous ring trekking novels came about to explain a language that the author had made up.
So you can get an idea from a novel from anywhere. Venomous Lives, my current published work, came to me after coming across some letters that were written between myself and a friend of mine in the 8th grade where we talk about our childhood crushes on hair metal bands and our admiration of people like Lita Ford and Vixen. I took that idea and created a story that to this day intrigues me. If I hadn’t written it, I would have bought it.
Ok so that’s how you get an idea Brandy, I already have an idea. How do I start?
Well Venomous lives started with the first scene… I wrote that and then outlined the rest… most authors out line and I do typically as well at the beginning of a project. Here is the problem with outlines for me…… I write them and RARELY stick to them. As the story develops most of my original Ideas don’t make sense for the characters that I have developed…. Venomous lives developed chronologically because the 1st scene was the scene that drew me in. a girl looking at the posters on her wall… how she felt why she loved the bands etc….
Now my current two projects and other novels are very different in their conceptuality….. I am working on a murder mystery and a mafia book. Both with strong female characters and their families or friends. Chick lit if you will seems to be my forte… here is how I got started…
Sci-Fi Fantasy – I love the fantasy genre. Unfortunately for me, I finished this 3 year labor of love right about the time that the wizard movie and the ring quest movies were coming out in theatres... this meant the genre was over run with new authors… how did I start.. Well I wanted strong female characters... the genre is over run with knights and wizards etc but strong woman are almost unheard of. So, I started figuring out what the races would be, what the structure of the rulers of the world would be and the map… then I created the characters and wrote scenes as they came to me, no real order of things. It works though. The books makes its way around to my sci-fi friends every couple of years and they all say I should re type it (as the original got lost in move) and submit it.
Mafia book – this is scene driven. I dreamed (cliché I know) about a scene in the book and now I am writing the story that will bring that scene about. The first thing I did, I pulled out my writing journal and wrote that scene. Hand written... Raw but it is where this book is headed.
Murder mystery – Again a concept… wanted to have a certain character murder another frame another and I am going for how to prove that. I know the ending. I created characters to bring about that ending… How did I start? I wrote an outline… I am trying very hard to follow it, because it makes logical sense to the ending I want but the characters are dictating other things. There are also scenes that come up in my head that I write in my journal that may eventually make it in, but now I am rewriting b/c I am eliminating a main character in that book that appears in the Mafia book (made more sense for them to be there)
So…. As you can see. The best way to start writing is to write. write your concept/scene/character description what have you and then create a word for them/it to live in that make sense… you have to start though.. You can’t say I want to write a book about this dream I had and then never put pen to paper. When you have the dream….write it down. Once you do that, you will find it easy to begin and never mind about what will sell. If you do that you never will.
Hope this helps and happy writing!