In today’s writing culture, many people are trying to “break in” to the indie publishing world because they have a story they want to tell. Having a story is one thing, but putting that story on
paper a screen is totally different. There are services such as developmental editing (check out our services tab!), but you really have to be ready to write the story yourself before you can focus on developing it with an editor. Getting started can be the hardest part, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We decided to pull together some strategies that we have seen work for authors, and hopefully one (or a few) of these will help you turn your swirling idea into a working manuscript that can be developed with the help of an editor and beta readers.
1. Write everyday – Quickwriting and freewriting are great ways to stretch your writing legs and get your ideas flowing. These are also great for curing writer’s block.
2. Create an outline – Outlining a story doesn’t work for every author, but many authors who are just starting out have said that creating an outline with a story arc helps them to make sure that they are including the necessary components of compelling fiction without making the story heavy in the front or back. Outlining is also a great way to just plot out what you want to happen in your story to make the process sort of a “fill in the blank” endeavor.
3. Join a writing group – Thanks to social media, you can find groups of like-minded people with almost all interests and hobbies. Find a writing group to bounce ideas off of, gain motivation, and learn the ins and outs of the business. This is where something like our Writer’s Hangout course would be great. A chance to network, practice your skills, and get feedback from others is invaluable.
4. Try different strategies – What works for one author might not work for you. There are so many strategies that you can try to get your manuscript from point A to point B. Maybe you have found that outlining is a great strategy, but creating character profiles forces you to pigeon-hole your characters, so you decide not to do that anymore. That’s great! You just need to try things and figure out what works best for you. Some of the best strategies I have found have come from books on writing by successful authors. On Writing by Stephen King is one of my favorite resources because he gives some very straightforward advice about writing as a craft.
6. Read – In order to figure out your own writing voice, you need to read. Read to learn how to structure sentences, new vocabulary, new ways of describing things. Read to understand how to reveal things about characters and how to add suspense and plot twists. Take notes about what you love and don’t love. Try writing from different points of view. The best way to become a better writer is to consume all of the writing around you. You don’t want to read so that you can mimic, but you want to read so that you can combine all of the parts of the literature that you love into your own unique voice.
Other books about writing we recommend:
- On Writing by Charles Bukowski
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop by Stephen Koch