Under Development: Writing That First Novel

On her site Fiction University, Janice Hardy,  has some great basic advice including point of view, structure, and plotting as well as what not to sweat. I know I learned a lot. This article is a great overview, but she also offers deep cuts on the subjects you want to learn more about. Well worth your time! What advice would you give to newb writers?

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Under Development: Writing That First Novel

 By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Work In Progress Sign Held By Construction WorkerThis week’s Refresher Friday takes an updated look at what to worry about (and not) when writing that first novel. Enjoy!

Writing can be a daunting task, but it can be even more daunting for those who know they want to write, but just aren’t sure how to start. What do you focus on first? Should you worry about how publishable the idea is? What’s the fuss about query letters, and do you need to write one?

It can make you crazy.

Here’s my advice for anyone who’s brave enough to pick up the pen and start writing. These elements can help you build a strong foundation on which you can develop your skills. They also applies to those who are still trying to get their writing legs under them.

Read a Lot

One of the best ways you can develop your writer’s ear is to read widely, both in your genre and market and without. You’ll start seeing (and hearing) how to put together sentences and what makes a great dramatic scene. It’ll also familiarize you with your genre, let you see what else has been done, and make it easier to spot cliches. When you find a book that particularly wows you, analyze it and figure out why it appeals to you so much.

(Here’s more on analyzing our favorite books)

Write a Lot

The only way to practice writing skills is to write. Don’t worry about how good or bad the work is, just get it down. You have to start somewhere, and while you skinned your knees learning to walk, you’ll make mistakes and fall down as you learn to write. But every time you put words together, those words get better and you grow as a writer.

Now for the more specific stuff, because that’s what you really want to know, right?

Read the full post on Fiction University

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If you liked this article, please share. If you have suggestions for further articles, articles you would like to submit, or just general comments, please contact me at paula@publetariat.com or leave a message below.

Oh Dear. This Is AWFUL.

This post by Greta van der Rol originally appeared on her site on 5/3/14.

Like every other writer, I have a vault where I keep stories I’ve written that have never seen the light of day. Or maybe shouldn’t have seen the light of day. I recently blew the dust off a manuscript (koff koff), thinking this was one I could do something with. It was fan fiction and not half bad, as I recalled. Okay, way back when I wrote it I thought it was crash hot. Which is pretty good. I figured I could change a few names, tweak here and there, and maybe end up with a salable story. It would be fun.

So I opened up the doc and started to read.

And folks, it was AWFUL. Newbie writing 101 FAIL.

So… what was awful about it? Oh dear. Let me count the ways…

Look, when you’re critiquing, you’re suppose to find the good points first, so let’s get that out of the way. The plot was reasonable for what it was. Princess wants to avoid an arranged marriage so has a few adventures crossing the galaxy to a relo’s house, expecting to be safe. There, she meets a dishy alien admiral who was her dead husband’s CO. Sparks fly. He keeps her safe. The end. The spelling was spot on and the grammar obeyed the rules.


Point of view

What possessed me to think we needed her father’s POV? It’s easy enough to establish he’s a conniving prick from her POV. And why do we need the little cameos between daddy and the jilted suitor? We’ll find out the baddies are chasing her soon enough. (In her defence, the writer probably thought she needed to warn the reader that Mary wasn’t safe, and that it wasn’t daddy’s men chasing her, it was the other dude’s. To which this critiquer replies, ‘so what’?)


Click here to read the full post on Greta van der Rol’s site.