Today I bring you the second part of this series and it is on… *drum roll*
Believe it or not, this is the easiest part of the process. Mind you it is not easy, but if you know what you’re doing, it will never be as hard as the editing. In my experience with writing, I’ve come to realize that almost anyone can make up a story. Most can decently write it, while only a few can perfectly edit.
Editing to me makes up 80% of the writing process and by editing I don’t mean grammatical and structural re-workings. I mean getting the book up to the point where it is a book. That is the point where you can give it to your editor and say, “okay, turn this thing upside down for me and tell me the one million and one mistakes that I still made.”
With that being said this post is about the writing aspect but as you can see, editing has done quite a number on me. Nora Roberts once said, and I’m paraphrasing here “Writing a book takes me a few months. Editing it takes me two years.”
Okay, okay… that’s my last reference to editing. Now lets talk about ‘writing” the point of this post.
First of all I can assure you that unless you’ve been actively studying on writing for a while, or have read too many books or both, everything you will write at first will be complete and utter rubbish…
WARNING! It is okay to be proud of this rubbish, but be more proud that you are able to realize that it is rubbish.
It means that you have the discernment to realize what good and rubbish writing is and that is what will either make or break you career. However if you’re in this hoping to make the quick buck without putting in the effort and not like the rest of us that love and respect it enough to want to make a life out of it then by all means, publish that bad boy. But be warned, nothing ever comes out of that but as we all know there is a very popular exception to this rule and I have nothing but respect for the author.
Now back to writing… first things first…
GO DO RESEARCH!
One of the best piece of advice I ever received was when the Chancellor of my first University told my graduating class that “Common sense gets you common results.”
To be ahead you need to know what others don’t know and the best way to do this is to go sit at the feet of others that are getting the result that you want and learn from them. When I first realized that I might actually be serious about writing, I went ahead to search for the best books on writing that I could find. My best till date is still “Stephen King’s” on writing because apart from the fact that it is absolutely brilliant, it was also written by a man who has the exact results that I am looking for. I’ve read others but I’m not going to mention them. Some were as good as his but as I said, his left the most impact because he has the results. Forget what professors tell you about making money, the people you should listen to are those sitting in offices with billions of dollars to their name.
Secondly, I can’t tell you what to write about, but if this is what you really want to do, the one thing I can tell you is that stories -or parts of stories- can come to you in everything you see and in everyone that you will meet, but that is if you are observant and serious enough to notice it.
Stephen also spoke about this and this is what he said: “Listen, you’ve got to look! you can’t just let it all go by and not notice.”
The importance of this for a writer can never be exaggerated. It’s okay to talk a lot if you already do, but if you want to be a writer, you have to listen a lot, you have to watch a lot and you have to think a lot. Notice things when you are on an airplane, notice the way the air smells today, notice the vein that appears on your husband’s forehead when he is pissed at you, notice the lady in the corner that seems perfectly healthy but has a trembling hand. Notice! Notice! Notice!
Thirdly, most first stories come from experiences but others come from watching and finally finding something that you just have to write about. When it finally comes to the actual writing, you have to find what works for you. I started writing the first drafts of my book by hand but that quickly stopped because it made me tired, and my handwriting is very pitiful so I struggled to read what I had written. Then of course I wasn’t ever able to know how far I’d gone for the day because I wasn’t always willing to retype what I’d written into a word processor. However, there have been particularly difficult scenes that I have had to write by hand and then transfer into the computer but there is no way that I’m ever going to ever use my hand to pen a 100k word novel. Never!
Fourthly, I write at night, because quite frankly it is my best time of the day. Everyone is asleep and everything is quiet, except the drunk undergraduates that howl at the moon as they pass by my building at 3.00am. I don’t mind though. Sometimes I need the distraction. Anyway, I’m more productive at night as opposed to the day so that is always my best time.
Then I don’t have set hours for writing. I write anytime I can get depending on my word count for the day and how busy I am with school work. Some people say creativity comes better when your brain gets used to a set time in the day that you mark out for writing. I don’t dispute that, but at this time in my life, I’m not quite that organized and also I don’t like rules, so that cannot work for me. Maybe when I’m older but right now, I get the work done and that’s enough for me.
Finally how you finally write the story really depends on you and that comes back to my initial advice on research. To write good books you need to know what a good book is to you, that means that you have to read. I’m sure you’ve heard that the number one rule of writing is to write a lot and read a lot. Again, a quote by Stephen King.
Nicholas sparks gives excellent advice on this on his website so I suggest you go check it out. Don’t just listen to anyone…including me… who claims they know what writing is all about. It is an art so that means that there is never just one way. If you want to be a bestseller, go read bestselling books and see how the authors write and what they write about. It’s just as simple as that. It’s one thing to have a story but it is another thing to write it in such a way that it makes the impact that you want it to have.
Then lastly, your first drafts will never be perfect. They will be terrible and you need to accept that. You also need to realize that writing is a sketch on the canvas. Editing requires you to erase, and re-sketch to be sure that you have captured exactly what you want to say before finally applying the paint. I have written books and thrown out countless pages before I got to the official page one. I told you I finished an 80k book a few weeks ago but last week when I started editing the “supposedly finished book”, I realized that I had missed one important thing that would set the entire tone of the book. The book focused on the relationship between my protagonist and her first love but only when I started editing did I realize that at the beginning of the book, she was already in a relationship with someone else and engaged. I wrote the book with her being single in my mind so imagine how much I need to change but that’s okay. I’ve come to expect things like this because it makes the book better but you need to put the thoughts that you have right now on paper and then start working your way through it all.
I have to stop now because this post is now a novella and I apologize for that. If any of you need me to expand on any parts of this and have any questions please don’t hesitate to message me or comment down below and I will make sure to address them.
That being said, my debut novel “The Beginning of Never” is now available for preorder but there is still a delay with the cover so that will be coming later. In the mean time I have created new menu’s above giving you all the available information on it so feel free to orientate yourself and as always, to message me at any time regarding any questions or concerns that you may have. Thank you all for reading. ❤️