Greetings from London and welcome to September. Hope your writing is delivering its promise to YOU first, before you think about anyone else.
While we are on the subject, have you thought about the skills any half decent creative writer is going to need before they start? Don’t forget creative writing is a vocation for many people and just like any other job like a plumber or a teacher, it demands certain skills.
I’m not sure if you have heard that old saying: ‘everyone has got a book in them’. This saying may or may not be true, but not every person has the writing skills to make this happen. This is poignantly true if you want to see your work of fiction published during these highly competitive times.
Being able to write
So obvious, but I have been to enough creative writing classes in my time to know that not everyone single student believes this is a strong requirement! Okay, like anything else writing gets better with practice. If you are serious about writing fiction then you will need to do as much of it as possible. It also helps if you read ferociously, as this will help shape your writing.
It’s not just important to get your grammar as close to perfect as possible but it is necessary for any good story to follow a sequential order. That order should go something like this: beginning, middle, end. Easy!
Being able to tell a story
So you have got an idea for a story. Your notebooks are full to bursting point. Now you have got to compose this story starting with your central character then your minor characters. This writing skill is crucial because you have to get so many aspects right before you can say you have written a believable story.
You will need to give your central character a dilemma or conflict that they must resolve by the end of your novel. This also applies to short stories.
In my view being able to tell a story can be seen as taking the ordinary events of life and putting an extraordinary spin on them. This is where you use your creativity to build drama, tension, passion, intrigue, mystery, and shape scenarios to keep your reader hooked until the last page and be queuing up to buy your next book!
Being able to tell a story takes vision, good planning and lots of optimism. If you are writing a novel you are going to have to coordinate a lot of divergent aspects, juggle many balls until completion. So writing takes mental stamina and lots of it.
You have heard authors say that a book took them twenty years to complete or more. This will give you some idea how long the process can take, especially if you factor in your personal life preventing you from writing daily!
Curiosity killed the cat!
Yes, this is you the wannabe writer or even a published writer with a book or two under your belt. You need to have a very curious nature. When you are going about your daily business, especially on public transport you should have your eyes and ears on the ready for any unusual sightings or any overheard conversations. Make a note of them for later use.
This is an important requisite for any good writer. He or she must have a thirst for life in all its weirdness or ordinariness, and then possess that burning desire to write it down in an entertaining way.
A curious nature will get you asking questions such as ‘what if’ and ‘what could that be about?’ Before you know it, constructing stories will become second nature. And let’s face it, if you plan to become a professional writer you are going to need to come up with all kinds of plot-lines and characters. And quickly!
So to recap:
- Get curious
- Improve your grammar and technical skills
- Think big and plan well
- Get lots of practice
- See stories everywhere
Until next time,
Happy Writing, S