In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journey. The following blog is from Priscilla McDaniel, author of “Raspberry Castle.” For more information on the author visit her website. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today.
If you want to be a writer, aside from perseverance and persistence, you should never write just to make money. Writing should bring you joy. The challenge for me is getting it right, what you want to say does not always go onto paper as easily as you think it should. Make every effort to keep your story interesting, i.e. don’t tell your story show it. Show it in dialogue, action words, and descriptive scenes kept short, sweet and to the point. Don’t overload with adjectives and don’t blather on or people will close your book. Develop your characters –even if your book is about your own life.
Why I Started Writing
I never read books until I was a bride at 21, and we had no television. I never thought or dreamed of writing a book, but the Good Lord had plans otherwise. My inspiration came from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice story when A & E made it into a movie. My husband enjoyed watching it with me and when it was over, he said, “What happens after that?”
Jane Austen never wrote past the wedding, so I decided I would help her along and make up my own story. My first 20 pages were horrible. I had no experience in writing fiction, but I had done some technical writing, and therefore believed I could tell a story. After much writing and rewriting and rearranging scenes, I eventually learned to show my story in dialogue and character building.
My Writing Tips
One very important thing to remember for those who want to write is to just sit down and do it. Don’t worry about outlines in the beginning simply or with difficulty write your first paragraph on the page. When I began writing there was no internet. I went to the library all the time. Once you start writing, even your first page, then you can do some research. Fiction does not require as much as non-fiction, but it will need some, especially if it is historical fiction. In the beginning, you may want to try an outline for your thoughts but don’t be tied to it. Don’t be surprised if your characters and storyline take on a life of its own. Go with it but don’t be afraid to delete and rewrite.
Be prepared to change things around, rewrite, proof, rewrite, and changes things over and over until you get it right. Your first novel should not be more than a maximum of 100,000 words. If it is more than that, you are saying too much, which is common for beginners.
Join a writers group, preferably a Christian group, and never, never, never let anyone other than a writers group member read your work, even then choose carefully. Family members are the worst, and friends, too, for giving you free advice, wanting to rewrite your story for you or give you unneeded criticism.
Needless to say, it can be very discouraging and even cause you to put your book down for good. Some people may offer to proofread it for you, but instead will rewrite if for you, and if that is the case they probably are not good at catching errors but are busy telling you what you should say differently, a good editor can do that. Read your story over many times, pare it down, make sure it is interesting, well written and has a good storyline.
WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so through the Blog Guidelines Page. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length.