The liter ary market is flooded with wannabe authors. Some are very good and some are very bad. While everyone has a story to tell, not many know how to tell their story.
When I sit down to write, I have to have an idea before words ever appear on the page. It seems once that idea festers in my mind for a few days, the characters that are coming to life in my head won't keep quiet!
I begin with an outline. A very simple outline. Remember, in my last post, we went over the 5 W's of writing. I implement those...who, what, when, where, why (and we can't forget the how, either)
The easiest place to start is the beginning. I find if I have a title, the rest comes easy. Next, it is all about the characters--who they are, what they do, when they are introduced into the story line, where they are in relationship to the other characters and why.
Sometimes, in the case of a series or trilogy, you may want to draw a map of the community you are writing about--be it fiction or fact. It gels in your mind exactly where things are, not to mention, when you have it in writing (or drawing, in this case) you have an easy reference.
Many times details are overlooked by using generalizing words...some, really, buildings, rooms, Your manuscript will come to life when you describe the situation or surroundings. Instead of saying "John wanted his fiance to meet some people from work," you might try "John wanted to introduce Mary to his secretary and manager." Instead of saying "The building down the street," try "The two story brick storefront on the corner of Main and 2nd."
The most important part of all...remember this is your story. You control the content. I can't stress enough that you read, re-read, read again, read aloud, read silently--if it doesn't make sense to you, chances are it won't make sense to your readers. When we read out loud and we hear our words, it gives a different perspective on our writing. We can change and mold our sentences, paragraphs, stories into the brilliant manuscript we want to world to embrace.
I don't know about you, but I want my work to be the best it can be. I don't want to cut corners or set unrealistic deadlines that force me to be shoddy in my writing. If I put out a rushed product, chances are readers will not pick up another thing I write.
In this day and age of anyone can put a book out there, please, be prideful in your work. Make your work the best. Settle for nothing less than perfection. I guarantee those extra days you spend reading and editing will pay off.