Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Writing

1. Chocolate – all writers must have a supply of chocolate. We eat it when we celebrate, when we cry, when we’re stuck on a scene, and any other reason you can think of.

2. Pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky notes (in many colors), plotting boards, paper (lot’s of it), and journals. Writers may be the sole reason Office Depot and Staples are in business. Maybe we should open our own store, wait…nix that thought, there’d be no profit. We’d use all the stuff.

3. Research – you must do your research. You can’t have someone driving on the wrong side of the road.

4. Find a critique partner – there are few people who would argue you don’t really have to have a CP. IMHO, they are wrong. Your CP, if he/she is the right one will see things that you don’t, find loop holes that you wouldn’t, and have the guts to tell you to fix it.

5. Join a writers group as in a chapter of a national division such as RWA – I can’t recommend this strongly enough. The encouragement and help you will find in a group is amazing. It’s amazing the help we find on our TARA loop. Just ask the question, be it about guns in the 1100’s or how DNA is found in the fibers of a rug.

6. Build your world – Grab your imagination tool belt cause you have to know where your characters live. I know what you’re thinking, this sounds like research but it’s not. Well, if you pick a real place then parts of it will happen in research. Still you can make up your own roads and such. But when you pick a place that is fictional then you must know the area. What are the shops, the roads, the best areas, the worst…you get the idea.

7. Begin to brand yourself – yep, get out the cattle prod…no, not really. But decide who you are and what you are about. Will you use your real name or pseudonym? Now is the time to start thinking about this. If you decide you want to go with pseudonym then the sooner you begin to use it the better. People will look for the name they know you by. One side note here – you must make sure you own the name in your contract if you use one. Otherwise if you leave your publishing house then they might own the name and you would not be able to take it with you.

8. Time – this is the one thing that can elude writers quite easily. There’s so much that sucks away at our writing time. I mean, hello, we must answer emails, chat on IM’s, and comment on our favorite blogs. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do those things. Some or most of them actually blend with the marketing theme. What you should do is use a timer. Allow yourself x-amount of time to “play” on the computer. Then shut down the internet and pull up that word doc and write.

9. Writing the dreaded synopsis – Trust me on this one, writing the best novel in the world can sometimes be easier then writing the synopsis (or sucknopsis as my friend and TARA sister Anne-Marie calls it)

10. Which of course leads to the Query Letter – see above, much of the same thing can apply.

11. Depending on the house you are targeting you may need an agent. If this is the case then you must do 3 & 4 to find your agent as well.

12. Edit, revise, write more and Eat More Chocolate – Chocolate is a must when in revision mode.

13. Marketing – Yes, even we write the novel we must also know how to marketing it along with ourselves. Thank you Erica for your wonderful blog on this.

These are just a few things that writers must do along with writing the next great novel. Add any others that I missed in the comments.



Jill James said...

Vicki, thanks for the concise list of wants, needs, and must-haves of any writer. Love the list.

Patricia W. said...

love that chocolate thing,

Writers must read -- to rejuvenate/entertain themselves, to learn, to keep a hadle on what publishers want, etc.

Guess thatcould fall under research.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I can't get past #12, and I'm doing it without the chocolate. Maybe that's my trouble!