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Writing fiction by consensus is a sure path to mediocrity.  -DaveH

How to Write

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Why Do Some People Want to Write Stories?

People want to write fiction for a number of reasons. Mostly the distinctions among those reasons are blurry; and for some, it can be confusing or depressing to try to sort them out. So let's forget the artificial classifications of why people want to write and just muddle about with some ideas on the matter. More...


 

 

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Why Do Some People Want to Write Stories?

People want to write fiction for a number of reasons. Mostly the distinctions among those reasons are blurry; and for some, it can be confusing or depressing to try to sort them out. So let's forget the artificial classifications of why people want to write and just muddle about with some ideas on the matter.

The first motivation that comes to mind  is simply liking the idea of being a writer, preferably a rich and famous one. People are sometime enamored by the  lifestyle of the stereotypical freelance writer; you know, the author person who works alone through odd hours of day and night, has quirky habits such doing origami with discarded pages of earlier drafts, and is immersed in exciting worlds of imagination. That lifestyle doesn't work out well for many real writers, but I might work out for you. If you want to live like that and reach for the pinnacle of writing success, you can do it. There is nothing wrong with that dream. It can, and does work. What's more, you don't have to be a very good writer, because you are counting on good luck and great connections in the business to get ahead.

Another kind of reason for wanting to be a fiction writer is to find a suitable outlet for this freekin' creative urge--the one that simply won't go away, even after you've done all the reasonable career things like going to college and becoming a professional something-or-other who draws a regular salary. Maybe you see things embedded in everyday events that others do not, or perhaps you are totally fascinated by a certain period of history, or with certain kinds of personalities. Wow! You really have to be careful about letting your imagination create interesting personalities that you insert into an dramatic situation. A budding novelist or storyteller cannot watch the evening news without coming across an event that can be turned into a story. If you feel like this, you have the passion of a writer. You don't have to obsess over finding story lines; you can find them 24-hours a day on CNN.

For some other people, writing and selling their work just sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe this is the foundation of your writer's dream. You can approach writing as a hobby or creative pastime. Maybe you will sell something, maybe not. The least you can do is put up some short stories on Amazon's Kindle for a couple of dollars and see how it goes.

So what are the reasons people dream of pursing the life and profession of a storyteller? Well, as I mentioned earlier, there are lots of reasons. But if you take the three I've described here, mash them all together and mix them around. You will have a decent idea of why people go into the business and craft of fiction writing. I cannot think of a fatally bad reason for doing it.

Okay, so that's my commentary on "why" you might choose a career as a fiction writer. Now it is time to turn to the "how."


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How to Put Your Writing Dreams to Work

Something like four out of five new business start-up fail by the fifth year. That's only a twenty percent success rate, but it's huge compared to the success rate of wannabe fiction writers. You have to love something about writing to stay with it, because it can be a very harsh taskmaster. It can challenge your physical health, your mental stability, your ego, your self-confidence, bury your self-esteem, and screw up your credit rating. But when you are anchored to your dream, you can't just walk away from the messes. You get back to writing and set about cleaning up the messes the best you can.

What's the first rule of writing? You probably already know:  Write, write, write, and write some more. Write when you feel like it and write when you don't. When you finish a work, begin another immediately. It's deadly awful to wait around while your manuscript is circulating among agents or editors. Forget the completed  project and concentrate on the next.

What's the second rule of writing? Read, read, read, and read some more. Why is this important? Because it provides a healthy influx of new ideas and standards for your own writing. A serious wannabe author has no good reason to fret about spelling, grammar, and style while reading extended examples of good spelling, grammar, and style on a regular basis.

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There is a bourgeoning industry out there that is built from ground up to assure you they can ease your transition from unpublished to published author. But if you have the inner sprit of a successful author, you know there are no short cuts and no panacea for the pain of obscurity. -DaveH

  • When you need reliable advice on writing fiction, go to authors who have mainstream publishing credentials and receive regular royalty checks. Very few college writing profs qualify, and most writer's workshop leaders don't make the grade, either.

  • Stop talking about it and just start doing it.
  • Don't pay someone else to do the grunt work (do your promoting, check your spelling and grammar, maintain your website and blog, find publishers, etc.).  It's YOUR grunt work, and you must whip it into something that is beautiful and part of your reputation as someone very special.
  • Get your work out into the public arena any way you can, and lots of it. Do it for free until your public (not you) thinks it's worth paying for.
  • Don't obsess about someone "stealing" your material. You can always out-produce any screwed-up wannabe, in both quantity and quality.
  • Don't create your "masterpiece," then sit back to see what happens. Produce all the time. Never stop, and don't look back. What you did yesterday is history. What you are producing now is your tomorrow.
  • Don't quit your day job.
  • Respect higher education, but don't fall for the idea that it entitles you to anything special. Don't use schooling as an excuse for putting off the real work that needs to be done.
  • Pray that your life partner is a patient and understanding soul, because you aren't going to be everyone's ideal partner.

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David L. Heiserman, Editor

Copyright   SweetHaven Publishing Services
All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015