Newbie Advice on the Craft of Writing–Practice
Words have amazing power. They can make us laugh or cry, or cringe or grit our teeth. When strung together on a page the way some of the great writers of our time do, they evoke feelings and moods that transport us to other realities that can thrill, chill, or warm our hearts. It is hard not to be affected by words.
Will I ever write like Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele? I doubt it, for a lot of reasons. One being, I’m me, not them. They are great for the way they can spin a story so enticing it pulls you in with the first page and holds you enraptured until the last page. They didn’t come by that ability overnight.
Athletes, artists, and yes–writing, or rather, writing well, is considered an art. The same principle applies to both. Practice. Just like a baseball player or a golfer has to practice their swing, a writer has to practice the craft of writing. So while the football team is watching film clips of this week’s opponent over and over, looking for weaknesses in the defense and offense, a writer studies and reads books on how to improve their writing. We then put those lessons and techniques into action, by putting words on the page with those newly learned concepts in mind.
It takes many drafts to create a story worth submitting to an agent or publisher for consideration. If you haven’t taken your practice shots (drafts 1-10), weeding out the passive voice, the backstory, the stilted dialogue, the head-hopping points of view, or the unanswered story questions, your story isn’t ready for a professional’s eyes.
Editing is frustrating. But it’s a necessary frustration. You will require less editing, which translates into fewer drafts of your story, the more you practice (WRITE). Trust me on this. I know published authors that can submit a second draft to their agent/publisher and consider themselves finished with the project until their editor sends them the revisions.
Don’t give up on your dream of being a published author because it’s too hard. Earning something because you worked hard to achieve it, is one of the most satisfying feeling in the world. We always appreciate what we had to work to get more than something that’s just handed to us.
So good luck with your writing and practice what you learn after reading a How To book on writing.