I've been writing for over a year and a half now. I have 6 novels done and working on my seventh- that said I am in no way a Patricia Briggs, Stephen King, James Patterson or any other author who has dozens upon dozens of novels out there. However, I have been asked quite a lot lately if I have any advice for someone who is aspiring to be an author. My initial reaction is yes, my advice would be not to ask me. I don't feel like I have any real advice to offer because some days I sit down and I feel like I'm writing for the first time. I can't figure out what I want to say or how I want to say it. I ask myself if I'm finishing too many quotes with "she asked" or "he said". I wonder if the story is even making any sense, and if a particular thought is really as funny as I think it is or is it simply lack of sleep.
I would like to say that I had it all figured out and that I know the secret to a great novel, but the truth is I haven't the slightest clue. I guess the first thing would be, do you love to write? And when I ask that what I'm saying is do you really love it? Are you constantly thinking up ideas, or plotting out your next scene? Do you get an itch if it's been too many days since you've been able to sit down and hammer out a few thousand words? Is it something you would do even if no one read your work and you made no money at it? I think to be a good story teller you have to love telling stories. If you can say truly, yes, I love to write then you have taken your first step. After that you are on your own...okay just kidding.
There are tons of Indie authors out there who will support you and give you advice. I always tell the people asking me that I'm not an expert and it won't hurt my feelings if they tell me I'm full of it and to take a hike. But let's say you've admitted that you love to write, next would be what do you love to write? Do you like facts? Do you thrive on real, true information? Or perhaps you love fiction, you love to make up fanciful worlds that only exist inside your head until they are on a word document on your lap top. Do you love mysteries, romances, paranormal or dysptoian fiction? These are things that I think are important to sort of nail down so that you don't sit down and get frustrated because you don't feel like you have a starting place.
You've decided you love to write, you've picked the type of writing you want to do and the genre you feel passionate about, what now? That is a good question my friend. At this point I think it becomes a very personal journey. Some authors make out a very detailed outline and work the story out step by step others sit down and simply begin...Once upon a time, and let the story build itself as they write. It's something that you will have to figure out and see what works best for you. It will always be a learning process and you will always be changing up the way you do things.
I've said this before and I think it's worth saying it again. As you write, novel after novel, remember as you sit down to begin each one that no matter how many you write, no matter how successful your books may be, you have not arrived. You have not reached the point of the worlds best novelist. Am I saying that to be a jerk- no, I'm saying that because I feel that if we ever come to a place where we think we have it all figured out then we can no longer learn and improve. We will no longer listen to the readers and really hear what they are saying. We will no longer ask advice from other authors or seek out new, better stories. We can never arrive, not if we want to be truly great authors.
If you love to write, then do it. Tell your story, whatever it may be. Maybe it's about a werewolf, maybe it's about a girl who struggles with depression, maybe your story is something that will touch one persons life and change the course they are on for the better. Who knows? But you won't know unless you try. So click off this page, bring up your word document and put down that first sentence.
Once upon a time there was a girl and she had a dream that one day people would read her words and laugh, cry, rejoice, rave, and endure with each of the characters she created. She sat down at her computer and she picked out a name, Jacquelyn Pierce and wrote the first sentence of her first novel:
"Jacque Pierce sat in the
window seat in her bedroom looking across the street at her neighbors house...