Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Today is the best possible time to be an published author.

When I began writing novels it was 2 years and 8 months before I saw my first mystery novel, Kill Cue, in a bookstore. It took more than a year from contract signing to publication. Today, things happen more quickly because self-publishing is certainly the name of the game.

You don’t need traditional publishers anymore.
Over the last decade, Print on Demand has made it possible to scale down the cost of publishing. No huge print runs for books, which might possibly sell, and no more remainders when they didn’t. Best of all, the world has finally become comfortable with buying their books on the Internet.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The best way to write your first novel is to Write Your First Novel.

The best way to write your first novel, and I'm not being sarcastic, is to Write Your First Novel. 

You'll learn more by TRYING to write a book than from merely reading books on how to do it.

Before you can adapt and use the information in "how to" books, you must first HAVE the problems the books solve. In other words, you need to write AND study, not just study first and then begin to write.

If fear is holding you back, take heart. I've written six
published novels and I'm still afraid to start each new book. What makes me a published author is that I overcome that fear every time. Don't be afraid.

Monday, August 21, 2017

For every novel since my first one, I have used what I call a “leapfrog outline.”

For my first novel, Kill Cue, because I had never before written a novel, I wrote an extensive 18-page outline.

As I wrote the book, things changed. Thank goodness, I went with the changes rather than sticking to the outline. After I sent in the finished manuscript to my editor, like a dummy, I actually revised the outline to match the book. (Guess I expected to get a grade.)

That experience taught me that I had devoted far too much time to writing an outline, the time I should have spent writing the book.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Learning to recognize what works is the greatest skill a novelist can acquire.

You don’t need to know exactly what scenes work and what scenes do not before you start the book. In fact, often, when you’re creating a novel, you've got to write some “wrong stuff” to discover the “right stuff’; the stuff that works.

Learning to recognize what works is perhaps the greatest skill a struggling novelist can acquire.

Beginning writers often toss in lots of facts when they’re writing fiction based on real experiences, just because that’s the way it really happened. Bad reason. Just because it’s true doesn't mean it works.

In fact, a lot of the bizarre things we read in the news every day, which really did happen, are too strange for fiction. No one would believe them even though they really did happen.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The use of replacement words for "said" should be extremely limited.

Editors say they can pick out an amateur writer in less than one manuscript page when they read stuff like this:

“I hate to admit it,” he grimaced.
“Come closer,” she smiled.

Certainly, nothing is wrong with occasionally using a word such as “shouted” to inject a particular feeling at a particular place.

However, the use of replacement words for "said" should be extremely limited. The word “said” is like a puppeteer; the audience never sees him, but they see immediate evidence of his work in the performance. Like that puppeteer, the word “said,” doesn't stand up shouting for attention, as do such substitutions as “demanded, exclaimed, pronounced, and vocalized.”

“Said” is invisible. “Said” is transparent. Readers don't notice it because they're used to seeing it all the time.

Lary Crews