Anyone Can Write A Book
How many times have you heard it said, “Everyone has a book to write.” Or “Anyone can write a book.”
Well, technically, I guess that’s right. The question is: can you write one well?
If you have no formal training, writing a book can be one of the hardest tasks one can take on. How do I know? Personal experience.
I had a strong drive to write a book. My professional training was in accounting, not book writing, but I believed that I could write because I heard it so many times, “anyone can write a book.”
The very first piece I wrote was horrible! I was too embarrassed to acknowledge I wrote it. Realizing I had no talent, I decided to quit writing.
However, I was pretty good at writing business letters and someone took notice and asked me to write his book.
I still had the drive to write, so I agreed.
Ha! He thought he was getting a book written business style. I wanted to write a fiction, a drama, a true story – anything but a business book.
Ten years I worked on his book. I poured my heart and soul into the task.
I submitted the manuscript to the editor.
The final product duplicated words and phrases throughout the whole of the manuscript, and there were huge holes throughout the story. Holes are details significant to the storyline that are omitted or spotty, or it can also be a scene that contradicts another, or an incongruous timeline in the plot.
A good example is when I was writing Empath, I introduced my son and said nothing more about him. Didn’t say how old he was, what kind of relationship I had with him, anything. Simply said, “my son.” Huge hole. I needed to add more depth to that section of the story.
And while I’m thinking of it, consider the proper use of lay and lie, and that and which, for example. I still don’t have that down 100%.
There were improper uses of the English language, improper sentence structure; the manuscript had the tone of a business manual since that was where my strength lied. The read was dull and boring.
Thinking I wrote a fairly decent book this time, I discovered the error of my thinking when the editor returned the butchered manuscript to me, along with an outline detailing the dos and don’ts when writing a work of fiction. I studied the outline like I was studying for a test.
The manuscript turned out to be a complete rewrite.
A few of the pointers he shared with me follows:
First, don’t use the same word/phrase throughout the book. Do you know how hard it is to find twenty to fifty different ways to say, “he looked at…?” or to find twenty to fifty different adjectives that convey the same meaning as the adjective you are so tempted to use over and over again?
And how do you keep the reader engaged?
Through detailed descriptions of places, people, locations, scenes, etc., etc., etc. The words should create a movie in the mind of the reader. It should engage the reader emotionally – draw the reader into the story.
But there are times when detail isn’t needed. For example, in Empath, there is a scene where the political candidate and the directors of the campaign are meeting to discuss a recording that was released to the media. One of the directors said out loud, (paraphrasing) “The least they could have done is supplied the jelly.” To which I added language referencing anal penetration. I used two editors to edit this manuscript and when both said the reference to anal penetration had to go, I cut it out. Apparently, that added detail was not needed.
And whatever you do, don’t say, “he barks!” Keep it at “he says,” or “he mentions,” or something in that vein. However, I took it upon myself to expand that vocabulary in Empath, so the read doesn’t come across so dry.
And watch those scenes and descriptions. They should be consistent throughout. A good example is when I first introduced the Virgin Mary in Empath, I think I had her wearing a blue mantel over a white dress.
Later on, in the story, I had her in gold and blue. Fortunately, the editor caught it, and it was corrected, which is why I don’t remember the details.
I am by no means an expert in this field. Just sharing a bit of what I learned about writing so far.
In Sandra Brown’s book titled Envy, one of her characters describes the hard work that writing is.
I tend to agree. And there is comfort in knowing I’m not the only one who feels that way.
You can find my book Empath on Amazon
Anyone Can Write A Book
I write articles about my book and writing in general so come and visit me at C. Marie Schrant Blogs
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