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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 ...


11

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. ...


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

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 ...


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 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. ...


5

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.)


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 ...


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

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 ...


3

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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...


1

In general, people look for a writer who can integrate craft, creativity and depth in his or her writing. Out of the three, craft is the only one that can be gained in a systematic and predictable manner through hard work, practice and dedication. It is the one that is easiest to teach, most visible on the surface, and most universally admired. However, ...


1

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 ...


1

No. About 1% of people who read a lot are commercial-quality writers. That drops to 0% for people that do not read a lot. Invariably anyone that starts off asking, "Can I be a good writer if..." will never be a writer. Good writers know who they are. For them it is more a question of whether they can drag themselves out of their drunken stupor long enough ...


1

I can point you to a very good resource on hooks in songs, whether you are talking about lyric or musical hooks. The resource is the great (albeit older) book, The Craft of Lyric Writing, by Sheila Davis. The book is filled withe examples from real hits and other songs which have been produced by actual recording companies. The author touches upon the ...


1

Lea has given a great answer (and +1), but, as Nicole noted in her comment, there are many possible answers to the question that is your character, so I would like to expand on Lea's answer a bit (and will use SF's answer to do so). To find the "correct" answer to the question that is your character, your character and his behavior do not matter at all. ...


1

There are many types of endings. The one your professor is referring to is just one kind. What I really want to know, though, is what he means by should? If should means it should be like that so the story is successful, then no. For a story to be successful it has to grip the reader. So the opening sentence has to be gripping. If by should he means it ...



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