Now that you have decided to write that long-considered novel, two very practical realizations–like great serpents rising from the depths–are beginning to emerge. One of these is the simple realization that it is one thing to have a story idea and quite another to take that idea and turn it into a coherent writing, something that is a challenge for even those who have been well schooled in the art of writing. And the second of these is, perhaps, more basic yet–if you did not have time to write your novel before, what makes it possible to write it now? The second of these, I will discuss in next week’s blog, but my answer to both of these quandaries is that you are now approaching these challenges with a new point of reference, a new freedom. Remember that, first and foremost, you are writing for yourself and that you have something you’ve wanted to say for a very long time. This means that it is you and not some invisible yet demanding publisher who will decide at what level of skill you may chose to write. If you are satisfied to share your story with only those who you know, your family and friends, you will have succeeded in finally telling your story, albeit to this smaller audience. Whether or not it is a technically superior writing is far less important than your accomplishment of your longtime desire to write. On the other hand, if you wish for a broader audience to read your novel, say through the publishing of an E-Book, a higher level of skill is likely desirable.
So, along the continuum of lower to higher writing skill, where does a higher level of skill come from at this late date? Life is already full and finding time has always been a problem, so going back to school for this purpose is likely out of the question. But for you to have an interest in writing, even as an avocation, you most likely are one who enjoys reading. In fact, over your lifetime, just how many stories have you read and pondered? You didn’t think of it this way, but you have been schooling yourself to write by way of your reading through all of these years. Many times, you have been witness to outstanding plot and character development, to the clever inter working of plot and subplots, and to a wide variety of writing styles. You tell a friend, “You’ve just got to read this….” and then you go on to describe all of the things that make the story a worthy read. At the bare essence, let’s face it, you know a good novel when you see one. Now, as one source of your writing skill, you must lean on the experience that you have as a reader, and let it play its role in forming you, the writer.
Even though in the business world I had done considerable writing and constructed many proposals, I still did five complete rewrites of my first novel, Clarity is Dying. What drove me to do that many rewrites? It was the knowledge that I was gaining from a combination of the writing itself and what I was reading in the meantime. You see, there are many fine books on the subject of writing and I found that they influenced how I thought about writing and I saw how they focused and helped me to improve my skill as a writer. And that is to say nothing of the wonderful online sources that are available, such as the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (Naiwe.com) on which I write this blog, or Writing World.com, to which I subscribe. There are articles, complete classes, and blogs for every aspect of writing and they are all just a click away. When you are in the midst of composing your novel, these instructive resources are fully applicable and far from being as esoteric as they might be for a casual reader. Email me and I will share the books on writing that I found useful. The real point is, however, that whatever books or online resources you choose as aids to your writing, they represent an excellent source of help for the goal you have now set for yourself. The goal to finally put your thoughts, your words, your plot and characters, your personal writing style, to a story that is yours and only yours–a story that only you can tell.
Next Week’s Blog: Okay, I’m ready, but where do I begin?
Blog Link: http://richardsfranklin.naiwe.com/feed/
R. Scott Franklin, Author, Clarity is Dying