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12

Really simple answer is this: Write one book. Tie up all the loose ends. Make it one complete story. But imagine it as book one of a series. Don't let we the reader know that -- it should be undetectable to us, but you will know there's potential for a series. When sending to agents and publishers ensure you include the golden words: "Stand-alone novel ...


12

Not really, no. That would be like trying to learn a foreign language without ever hearing it spoken or seeing it written. You can certainly write, inasmuch as you can write words down on a page. But that's not "becoming a good writer." if you have no idea what other books look like, then you'll basically be trying to invent the modern novel from scratch. ...


10

Most books I loved did not have any overt message. It was mostly by accident, and not the author's design, that I happened to find something that resonated with me. If you have a story that feels relevant enough to yourself that you want to invest the time and effort to write it, do so. If you write it well, others will enjoy it, too.


9

A story does not have to have a profound message that will change the life of everyone who reads it for it to be worth writing. There are many things that can make a story worthwhile. Sure, if you have some truly profound message that you want to relate, that's great. But really, the purpose of most stories is just to be interesting or entertaining. ...


9

To be honest, until a story passes a certain threshold of completeness I don't think it can be determined if it is worthwhile or not. Pretty much every awesome plot can be summarized in a way that sounds dumb, and every lame plot can be made to sound interesting; so the storyline alone is not enough to decide. In fact, I think that none of the other elements ...


8

I have been drawing for thirty years and published a few comic books. I draw reasonably well. When I was beginning to learn to draw – you can always get better, so you are never "accomplished" – I bought a whole lot of how-to-draw books. Strangely enough, following their advice to construct human figures by following their schemas of proportion never worked. ...


8

Spend 100 percent of your time learning the craft. Spend at least half of that learning by writing. (If this sounds overly pithy to you, please understand that my pithiness is an attempt to break through the thick skull of someone who desperately needs this advice: Me.)


7

Short answer: Possibly, are you a genius with lots of time? Long answer: I guess you could ask the same question about any field. Can I be a good painter without looking at other paintings? Can I be a good carpenter without looking at other cabinets? Can I be a good architect without looking at other buildings. (Fyi: I refuse to enter the building of an ...


7

For a moment abandon the crew of your story and have a peek at your readers. Well, before that prune endings that are too expectable, out of characters or otherwise faulty, but once you come with the decent set... Which ending would be most satisfying? Which would elicit most of the emotions which you want to create? Instead of thinking within the story ...


6

Try it! If you enjoy writing, write. If you don't, stick with what you're doing, because it seems to work for you.


6

If you are not in it for the money, just make sure you enjoy telling the story. If it is not fun, don't bother.


6

The examples of Paolini and Rowling are not useful as blueprint for a different reason than that stated in the comments: they are exceptions. Overwhelming success is rare, not the rule. It happens to a small percentage of published works only, and you cannot plan it. What you can plan, though, is a more moderate, general success. And this depends largely on ...


5

I don't remember who; but someone once compared the urge to write with a tumour. I understand that you'd get along just fine without having to put pen to paper. A couple hours of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and you won't feel like delving deep into your soul to reach out for that story anymore. A few minutes of TV is always a better idea, right? Well, I ...


5

Here are my three steps: The test of time: Keep the story in your head for a couple of weeks. Does it come back to you when you're not thinking about it? Is it becoming more and more appealing over time instead of losing its charm? If the answer is yes, move on to the next step. The test of execution. Write the story down. Did it work? Did the idea create ...


4

I understand where you're coming from. Free time is a precious resource, especially as an adult. There's only so much to go around, however this may be a case of what you're reading rather than how much you read. In other words, reading higher quality writing less often is usually better than reading lower quality writing more often. I would start by ...


4

Publishers are always looking for a reason to reject submissions, because it is easy to reject (takes a few seconds), and much more work to accept. I was once on an elevator with an editor and the elevator got stuck. The editor got out his phone and said "I can use this time to reject some submissions." The trick is to know the editor and what they usually ...


4

You can be a good storyteller. I'm like you. I rarely read for fun, but watched a LOT of movies and played a lot of video games (The first Half-Life game and the first Starcraft game means more to me than any novel I have ever read). I also imagined that I wanted to write books. But what I really wanted to do was to tell stories and to be creative. I ...


3

To learn how to start writing, the best advice I've ever read or heard is just to start writing, followed closely by take in as much content as you put out. Here's why: The best way to learn is to do it. So go do it. Practice. Try things. Experiment. You will do poorly and you will grow, and if it hurts all the better because that means you're going to ...


3

Take a minute to think about this: If someone knows so much about writing that they can write a brilliant book about it, why aren't they writing best selling novels or literary classics? Occasionally a brilliant writer will take the time to write about writing (I have a list of rules for short stories by Edgar Alan Poe), but mostly the books appear to ...


3

This seems like a very weird question to me. Why are you writing, exactly, if you don't like books? Do you think it's going to be a quick path to fame in lieu of an actual career? Because that's the feeling I'm getting from your question. On the other hand, if you've come to like books as an adult but you don't feel like you have the time to read, just ...


3

Write out a few and share them. You may be completely wrong about the market. A tale which "explores a character's path through life" but not much else happens is called a character study, and those are legitimately literature. (And movies sometimes too, c.f. A Room with a View.)


3

Ownership of the content of any forum is likely to be addressed, in detailed legalese, within the FAQ, Privacy-Statement, Membership Agreement or some other supporting documentation within the forum's site. More than likely, if you are already contributing to the forum, then you have already agreed to the site's policies and are therefore bound by them. So ...


3

One thing I can say is, do not stress yourself out. That would be rule number one. Other than that, the medium does matter. Writing directly on a forum may put on the pressure for you. Best to dose it correctly, neither too high nor too low. Different subject matter will require different levels of effort. Writing a light-hearted message about an average ...


2

Your question seems to be primarily about how to integrate plot and characterization. This is an issue I've been working hard on in my recent writing, so I'm going to make an unearthly effort to keep this answer short and to the point. My writing philosophy is this: every character is a question that needs answering. Every character starts the story with a ...


2

So your experience so far has been that you have learned some theory but still find yourself unable to do it. And the solution you see is more of what you didn't find helpfull, that is, more theory? How do you learn anything? Do you learn walking by being told how to walk? Do you learn riding a bike by reading books about how to ride bikes? Do you learn ...


2

I will somewhat disagree with the other answers by agreeing with "what" 's answer. "Do you need to watch a lot of sports to be a good sportsman? " In short, writing is about writing and reading is about reading. One activity is doing the other is being, it is acting versus contemplating. From everything I read; :) one becomes a better writer by ...


2

It might help to keep a journal with your writing ideas in it. When you have an idea in your head, write down as much as you can about it. Then you would have the ability to go back to your journal and revisit your ideas. If you see something that you would like to write more about, go for it.


2

Why do you write? For fun? In that case every story is worthwhile as explored by most of the other answers. For readers? In that case read on. To improve yourself? In that case of course every story is worthwhile, but you need to act as if you are writing for readers. What do you wish to achieve? Now, personally I have always classified two different ...


2

First, good stories tend to keep pestering you until you put it down in words. Bad stories seem blessed with inertia. Second, I read a great book by Nanci Atwell about how to teach writing to students. She used the rule of "So What?" for students. Why is this story important or worth reading? New writers tend to write about things without having a clear ...


2

It's very difficult to have hard answers for questions like this because there are way too many variables. "Traditional" publishing is not a monolith - there's a lot of difference between publishing with the Big 5 and publishing with a small e-publisher, and a lot of difference between publishing with a reputable, established e-publisher and a fly-by-night ...



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