We writers would like to take the easiest and surest path to publication, but those distinctions contradict themselves. The surest path is often not the easiest to a bestseller. Good habits and a conscientious effort to work hard at our craft means commitment and dedication. Whew! But you can do it.
Each time we position our fingers on the keyboard, we challenge our writing to be better than the previous day. No stress there. The road to publication for the first book and the second and each book thereafter is downright difficult. To maintain the momentum of a selling novelist, we consider the following:
Our skills must be sharpened.
The industry changes.
Characters always need more definition.
Plots can always be more exciting and unique.
The setting must contribute to the plot.
The dialogue has to be crisp, in character, and not on-the nose.
Emotive conflict must keep the reader turning pages.
Mediocre novels are the best of the worst and the worst of the best. Gulp. Back to work!
Without resources to achieve our writing goals, the high road becomes laden with rocks, potholes, and rattlesnakes, and we become disillusioned.
That’s why I teach and mentor serious writers who understand the high road means taking a deep breath and pressing on. I’m a learner too, and the process never ends. Writing quality novels that glorify God through one or more characters who solve their problems according to a Christian worldview is a divine calling. I want to bring up new scribes by teaching writers what I’ve learned and continue to learn. When I offer a new tool for the craft, I’m sharpening my own.
A teachable new writer keeps me on my toes.
A teachable new writer makes me excited about the writing process.
A teachable new writer means another person I can pray for.
And most important, helping a teachable writer gives me tremendous satisfaction. I want writers to succeed. I want to see their books on a list of new publications. I want to be their best cheerleader and nurture them through the areas that dance like magic and the areas that need strengthened.
If you’re a beginning writer, I invite you to attend How to Write a Bestseller, a beginner level track at the ACFW conference in September. In the time we have together, we’re going to talk about character and how motivation drives plot. We’ll explore dialogue and emotion. We’ll work hard and learn together through hands-on exercises designed to help a writer grow. I’m ready! Are you?