Last time in this complicated series, we talked about my friend, Danny, who asked “What does it take to become a published author?”
I know you’ve been patiently waiting, so here’s my looong answer:
“Wow. First of all, learn to write really well. Whatever every English teacher has ever taught you becomes gold you will continuously mine. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but spelling, punctuation, dialogue, story structure, and proper grammar are paramount. Next, practice, practice, practice. Keep journals, write articles and/or stories in long and short form. Read and study poetry, because they are excellent forums for learning colorful descriptions, analogy and flow. Also, read everything you can get your hands on, from newspapers, magazines, to classics, and current bestsellers. Oh, and study. Take classes from pubbed authors, attend workshops, conferences, etc. Be a student of life. Observe, watch, listen, notice smells, the way people speak…and then hone your skills to a genre or form to which you are drawn. When you have work to share, join a critique group (or two) and listen to what others tell you about your work. No rubber-stamping allowed, because no one improves by being told how wonderful they are! And when you get close to being ready to offer works for sale, the process becomes a business. Which becomes an entirely new discussion about pitches and marketing, platforms and branding, royalties, agents…you get the drift.”
answer: Write a really good story. Really good. And if you can, write really well. (I say “if you can” because lately it seems to me that good story trumps proper style
. That’s another episode, but certain bestsellers like >cough< Twilight
>cough, cough< come to mind.
If Danny (or anyone) has the desire and drive to write, not even the mightiest of obstacles can stop you. Because like any art or passion, wordsmithing, storytelling, poetizing…the desire bubbles from within and must be released.
So surround yourself with resources to hone your craft, see below.
And pray. Without ceasing.
After a quick survey of my bookshelf, these are the most dog-eared resources I keep handy:
Writers, what do you find useful to stay the course?
In a future post, I plan to compile answers to this question: As a reader, how do you find authors you like in the midst of the millions? (Don’t we all hope to find the next jaw dropper, like this lucky little girl?)