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Sunday, 12 June 2011

Lori's Commentary: "Just Write!"

Best-selling author Anne Rice once gave this advice to new writers:

“There are no rules in this profession. Do what is good for you. Read books and watch films that stimulate your writing. In your writing, go where the pain is; go where the pleasure is; go where the excitement is. Believe in your own original approach, voice, characters, story. Ignore critics. Have nerve. Be stubborn.”

In most cases, these words couldn’t ring more true. A few writer colleagues discussed their ideas of developing their respective novels with me, and confused by the conflicted feedback she’d received on her manuscript, one had shelved her own project for some time. She’s once again dusting off the respective manuscript, encouraged by telling her story first, and working on the editing details later. “Just write,” I told her.

We all read the books, the blogs, attend the conferences, frequent the message boards and web sites, attend the writer’s groups and conferences, yet we’re still left scratching our heads in bemusement as to if we’re creating our work the “right” way.

Maybe that’s the problem—we’re so focused on turning out the perfect manuscript and getting published that we lost focus of the true purpose of potential books: to tell our stories.

Some writers tend to think in order to “sell” their work, they must dash out something that’s the current “trend,” but once the market is saturated with a specific genre, your work will remain on the slush pile for an undetermined amount of time.

Write what you know, not what’s “in style.” There’s a story that’s run through your subconscious for months (or years, if you will), characters yearning to be created and developed. Why not share them with the world? Who cares if they aren’t the “current trend?” It’s your work in progress; make it your creation!

There’s no guarantee that your work will get noticed by a publishing house sooner, but it won’t be competing with thousands of other stories with the same theme. Sometimes, it’s good to write a novel about a subject that isn’t trendy or cool, but at the same time, can grab a reader’s attention and tell an amazing story from the first chapter to the final sentence of the last page.

Pay attention to advice and feedback, but don’t take all of it literally. Otherwise, you’ll drive yourself into a frenzy and just become frustrated. Try incorporating a few of those suggestions into your work. If the ideas improve your manuscript, by all means, use them. If not, it’s fine in some cases to skip suggestions.

Yes, novels are written for readers to enjoy and take them away from the world’s woes, but at the same time, it’s also good to bring something to the market that is original and exciting. Who knows, your book could begin the next big trend, but not if you don’t take risks and bring your own voice and excitement into the mix.

I’ll see you soon on the book shelves and Kindle, and good luck on having your own future best seller!

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