If you’re hankering to write that book you’ve always wanted to write, here are five tips before you start:
1. Know your genre: If you want to write a mystery series but you’ve never read a mystery then you might want to start reading mysteries. But you say that you want to write a different kind of mystery, unlike all the other ones on the market. Well, what I will say to you is this: you can’t break the rules until you understand the rules. When you know the ins and outs of a particular genre, then you can play with the form. But before you do that, read a few books!
2. Know your market: Ah, yes, you’re a writer, not a sales guru. That is up to the publisher. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. You need to think about who is going to buy your
book. Young adults? New adults? Older women a.k.a the Oprah crowd? You have to think about who your reader will be, otherwise finding an audience will be tough. Some writers will tell you, write from the heart, write for yourself. Yes and no. If you want to sell books, you need to think about who is going to buy them.
3. Know your characters: Some authors write character breakdowns with detailed back stories. Even if they don’t plan on using any of it in their books, they need to figure it all out ahead of time so that they get a strong sense of what a particular character’s motivations are. Other authors are a little more visual, and create elaborate collages or bulletin boards with all things related to their characters, including pics of hunky actors to “inspire” them. And some authors are a little more free-and-easy. They might draft a bare bones outline of their characters and then fill everything out as they go along. Whatever your approach is, you need to have a sense of your main characters especially, otherwise you might find yourself wondering why he or she isn’t coming alive on the page.
4. Know your research: This depends on the kind of genre you are writing. If you’re writing an historical romance, then you will most likely do quite a bit of research about the time period, fashions, foods, modes of transportation. Any number of things that figure into your story. Sometimes you’ll have to look something up as you go along. You can’t anticipate everything. In journalism 101 we were taught to have at least two sources for every fact. At least two different people or books or reports who could corroborate the information we were putting forth. Well, that seems to have flown out the wiki-window as journalists today often cite tweets and facebook posts in their stories. Eep! As for genre fiction writing – how about checking some reputable historical documents or books written by historians or experts in the field you are writing about.
5. Know your voice: This is a challenge. Every author has a voice. Some have a light-hearted writing style, while others are dark and brooding. Whichever way you write, it belongs to you, and you alone. This is where you can shine and stand out. So think about what kind of writer you are. Take writing workshops. Do some writing exercises. Analyze the books you love. Why do you love them? What is it about the style of the author that embraces you? I’m not saying, copy that style, but certainly be inspired by it. Your voice is your original imprint on the book. It is what will make readers squee when they tell you how much they love your hero or how well they identify with your heroine. That didn’t just come out of nowhere. Nope. That is your voice, working its magic on the reader.
I hope you’ve found this helpful. Our Lachesis authors can also share much of their wisdom when it comes to writing that first book. Until next time – happy writing.
Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, smart tips, and a good story.