I have been active on the pro-innocence blogs and discussion boards for several years and when people encouraged me to write a book, I started thinking about the task ahead. I looked at several websites that track your posts and did a rough count and estimate of all the blogs, discussion boards and articles I have posted on over the last three years and came up with an amazing number. Roughly 20,000 posts and comments at an average word count of roughly 50 words each. That’s a million words in three years. An average of 333,333 words a year or another way to look at it, anywhere from three to six novels. All of this in my spare time, while working full time and not even giving much thought to it. Writing a book then, no problem. As long as I had something to write about.
Most of my friends encouraged me to write about the Amanda Knox case. Do you have any idea how many books have been written about that? Many, with more to come most likely. I could have written it from my perspective and might have added something to the story from the standpoint of someone active in commenting on the case but at that point it just didn’t seem as pressing to me.
I love urban fantasy and decided that was the book I wanted to write. As a first time author this is my advice to other authors sitting down to write that first novel.
1. Get your basic story straight. The main characters, the plot, and the ending. I used a brief outline for mine.
2. Don’t try to tell your story in the first few chapters. Let the characters discover the story, the subplots, the surprises, and the story behind the story. My editor would tell you not to use that many commas but that is another post for another day.
3. Get a few of your friends to help you with advice and suggestions as you are writing. I can’t tell you how much fun I had with this part and if some of the characters in my book have similar names to some of my friends that is purely coincidence.
4. Get somebody that knows what they are doing to do some editing and grammar correction before you submit your book. I couldn’t wait on that part, and the first couple of submissions were not as good as the last. I kept tweaking and improving on my book with some help from friends and family, taking a rejection as a challenge. I knew my story was good, I just had to make it readable.
5. I found the hardest part of writing fiction versus the commenting and non fiction type writing I was doing is getting your dialog to flow smoothly and sound like real conversation. My advice is to take a fiction author you enjoy, open that book to a rnadom page and pay attention to how they do this. Then, have a conversation with yourself as different characters and write it down as you go. You can have some good fun with this as well. I sure did.
6. The biggest thing is not to try and go it alone. Your friends want you to suceed, they can help you in many areas including suggestions and research. My friends let me know they really enjoyed this part and it helped me tremendously. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or an honest opinion.
Hope this helps and good luck and great fortune with that first book. I know you can do it!
Rose Montague is the author of Jade
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