Monday, October 5, 2009

On Writing

A friend of mine asked me to blog on what I have learned about writing, and getting published, on this blog. So, in order to honor that wish, here are some of the things I have learned in my vast eleven months of writing experience.

1. Get it written. Nothing else is going to matter until you have a story. You can't fix it, improve it, sell it, show it off, submit it, or anything else until you can hold it in your hand. Don't even worry about how bad it may come out. First drafts are supposed to be bad. Just get it on paper, and on your hard drive.

2. Get to know other writers. Getting to know the other people in the writing business will help make what you are doing seem more possible. And you can absorb things they have learned in your interactions with them. Actually knowing other people who do it can give you the confidence to do it yourself instead of thinking of it as something done by the likes of Stephen King in his rarified heights.

3. Research your market. Learn who is out there and what they are accepting. Duotrope is a good place to start. Preditors and Editors is another good site to check out. Sometimes when you know who is accepting what kind of stories, you can write towards that. Also knowing a deadline for submissions can be a motivator.

4. Editing, editing, editing. No matter how many times you go over a story, you are going to miss something. Always have a couple of other people who know a little something about grammer or writing go over it too. You will always have blind spots in regards to your own works. Just accept that, and plan accordingly. Getting a story critiqued is a necessary part of the business. Repeatedly if possible. Many publishers will reject a great story over simple things like spelling or grammer errors. Don't give them that chance.

5. Learn about passive voice, and how to minimize it.

6. I started by writing a novel. It got rejected, and deservedly so. I learned a lot in the process of writing that, but it was a heck of a time intensive waste of a way to learn. You might want to start with short stories to get your feet wet.

There's more, but thats enough for now.

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