PART 1 - Book Writing Know-How
I wrote it wrong before getting it right. As we all know, it is essential to know the requirements, skill, and basics, before initiating action and implementation for any enterprise. Writing for publication is no exception. In my last post I said that I made the mistake of assuming I could write an acceptable book by relying on my ability to write well. In the end this didn't work for me. There was a reason it fell flat. Although I purchased the recommended writer's manuals and publishing books, my basic know-how in book writing was only rudimentary. It wasn't enough to do the job with skill or finesse. I learned from a writing coach that my unfinished manuscript fell short in a number of areas. These errors could easily have been avoided if I had solicited advice during an earlier stage in the writing process or better yet, before ever beginning. Today, with the advent of numerous Internet resources, and with its consequential growth in the self-publishing market, there is less cause for naïveté in the writing field. For the wannabe writers the door is wide open. However, some serious preparation is in order.
Writers have ideas just itching to get out. Communicating through the written word is a stimulating, almost heady experience. It's fun! Writing can get the creative juices flowing. Those who love the craft are able to formulate clever sentences with a certain amount of ease, although the editing process is the time-consumer often requiring mental searches for the best way to express the thought. Effective book writing takes all this and then some.
My prior experiences in writing were in the genres of essays, poems, and plays. Despite their successes and a positive response from my audience, these experiences did not carry over to my first attempt at book writing. The most glaring deficit was that I was writing in a passive rather than active voice. Instead of showing the reader what I was feeling or felt, I was telling them all about it. There's a major difference between the two. The telling is boring, uninteresting, with all the appeal of a textbook. But showing is intriguing, exciting, pulling the reader into the thought and action. In addition to this error, telling a story rather than showing its unfolding, there are other writing errors common to beginning, unproven authors. Inappropriate verb tenses, overuse of adjectives, unnecessary adverbs, over-use of introductory clauses and so forth can kill a story line no matter how excellent the plot or over-arching collective content.