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Keep Writing

Writing is not easy. Any writer can tell you that. Everyone thinks that they can just sit down and write a novel. And the beginning is usually the easiest to write. But it takes perseverance to work all the way through a full manuscript.

As you work through the first couple of chapters of the book, you must expand the plot, bring out character flaws, create drama, conflicts, sub-plots, etc. And at the same time you have to weave all of these together into a cohesive group of words that not only makes sense but also keeps the readers attention at all times and make them want to keep reading. It’s a complex and time consuming job.

There’s a famous saying that goes like this: ‘Writing is easy. All you do it sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.’ This was said by Gene Fowler. And it is so true. There are many times that it truly does feel like this. Don’t let it discourage you, keep writing. Keep that blood flowing.

Another thing about writing that no one tells you, is the soul searching that you must do as you write. Every character takes a piece of you. Each and every one. And there are scenes that in order to make them believable and true to life, you must dig deep inside of yourself and touch a part of yourself that you don’t want to. Many writers will take the easy way out and just skim the surface, but not if you want to be a successful writer. You must dig and bleed and put it on paper so that your reader will also feel the same. You must feel, so that your reader can feel too.

If you aren’t willing to expose your deepest, darkest secret, at least sort of, then don’t even start your manuscript. You must put yourself, literally, into each and every scene. If you cry, laugh, cringe or whatever, at a scene then so will your reader.

It is that important. Really. Bleed on that manuscript. Make yourself cry. Laugh. Be embarrassed. It will be important in the end when you hear from your readers that they could really understand what the character was feeling.

It makes all the effort worth it. So right now, don’t take the easy way. Keep writing with feeling. It will pay off.

Stay tuned.

Angela Abderhalden is the author of the Mel Addison Mystery Series and Acquiring Editor for Seventh Wave Books, LLC


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Five Things To Be An Author

At my ‘mundane’ job yesterday, someone asked me how long I had been writing. I told them, with a smile, since I was in sixth grade. But I have been writing seriously since I was sixteen. I’m not about to tell you exactly (although I’m not afraid to tell my age normally), however rest assured it is over twenty years. Then they asked why I still do it. That got me thinking.

What things does a writer need to become an author? First, you ask what is the difference between an author and a writer? A writer is someone who writes. An author, in the strictest definition is a person who is published. I like the less strict definition of a writer who is serious about being published or is published.

So what does it take? From my experience it takes five things. One. It takes dedication. This is a dedication to learn the craft. Yes, writing is a never ending learning experience. No matter how good you are, whether you have published nothing or are a best selling, multi-published author, everyone is still learning. And writing has a very large learning curve until most people are ‘ready’ to be published. No, I’m not just talking about grammar and putting words together. I’m talking about finding your voice, finding your style. And making it the very best it can be. As with everyone else, I’m still learning and refining my craft. And I will be forever.

Two. It takes a thick skin. By this I mean you have to be able to take suggestions and rejection. Not everyone will like your work even if it’s the best it can be. And as you are learning and think that your ‘baby’ is ready for publication, you must be willing to hear that it is not. That it needs help and work. That it is not up to snuff. You must be able to take the rejection, digest it, and turn it into a positive. Trust me, not an easy thing to do. Sometime it’s merely looking at the work again immediately, rewriting and moving on. Sometimes is letting it sit for days or months then finally coming back to the work, realize that the critique was right, swallowing the hurt, rewriting and then moving on. (That is from personal experience. It once took me over six months to even reread comments from a very painful face-to-face meeting with an agent. But after a time I came to realize that she was right, as much as I didn’t want to admit it even that long after the meeting. Still, I swallowed the hurt, rewrote and now it is published.)

Three. Belief in yourself. You have to believe in yourself. If you know that your manuscript is the best it can be and you believe in the work with all of your heart, your enthusiasm will come through when you pitch to an agent, talk with a publisher, or on tour/presenting. This feeling is a deep set feeling that no one but you can develop. And with this belief comes confidence. And confidence will win the day.

Four. Persistence. This trait ties in with all of the above but is also separate by itself. Rejection. Rejection. Rejection. Yet you keep sending it out to get published. And while you are waiting for the next rejection, you start on the next manuscript. It is that feeling of stick-to-it-ness that all of the best writers have. You are there day after day, cranking out the words (in the best possible way) and sending out your babies to the world to get rejected. But one day, yes one day, it won’t be a rejection. It will be the coveted acceptance. Trust me it is worth the wait.

Five and last. Luck. As much as no writer likes to admit, luck does play a part in getting published. You have to be in the right place with the right manuscript with the agent/publisher in the right mood, and wham, you get published. Although hard work is a good provider of luck, it still plays a part. So go out and get lucky.

There are my thoughts about being an author. So what did I do tonight when I got home from my ‘mundane’ job… I wrote this blog, edited a short story that will take place between book one and book two of my Mel Addison mystery series books. These will be free. My gift to the world. Oh yeah, and I worked on a different mystery series book, not done yet. But I’m still cranking out words, rewriting and hopefully some day soon, it too will be ready for publication. Stay tuned.

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