Award-Winning, Amazon Top 100 Author George Bernstein shares with us…
First, don’t do it, if that’s how you plan on making a living. Sure, we all hear about the fabulous successes of the J.K. Rowlings and John Greshams, but what you don’t hear is how long they struggled to even get published, and that people who make real money writing fiction are about .01% of all the writers out there. That’s 1/100th of ONE PER CENT! One in 10,000.
Second, if you’re still intent on being a writer and getting published by a REAL publisher, you’d better have a thick skin and be able to accept rejection… after rejection… after rejection! You may NEVER find an agent or publisher for your work. Louis L’Amore, probably America’s most prolific writer of Westerns, was reputedly rejected 350 times before getting his first story published. Even getting an agent is no guarantee of being published. I know of agents who have shop manuscripts they love for years and never find a buyer.
So, unless you’re writing for the joy of it… that you really want to get that story down on paper, no matter what… then find some better use for your time.
But if in the face of all that, you still want to write that novel, then here’s some advice.
First, pick up a couple of books on fiction writing. Donald Maass’ “Writing the Breakout Novel,” and Albert Zuckerman’s “Writing the Blockbuster Novel,” are two of a legion of titles available. Zuckerman’s book gives you a complete roadmap, from beginning to end. You can search Amazon or www.ABE.com (good, like-new used books, cheaper) or the library. While you’re at it, you should pick up Dave King’s “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers,” which you’ll need later. Read those first, to get you on the right track.
Now, imagine the story you want to write, think of where it’s going and the characters who are going to take it there…and how you want it to end. I usually start with the end result I’m seeking and work backwards. But be prepared for that to change as you begin writing. More about that later.