Practical Advice for Beginning Fiction Writers
The truth of the matter is a full length manuscript is nothing more than an expanded short story. And a short story is a blown up account of something that interested you over coffee, or in a pub, or a musing on the way to work, a joke, an anecdote, a newspaper article, an idea of what you might have done if you’d won the latest lottery (we’ve all been there). The source is endless. But whatever it is you come up with, it should have a beginning, middle and an ending. Obvious maybe, but having a complete idea of what you want before putting pen to paper is important.
The Story: A writer formulates a tale from a basic idea and helps it grow; no one sees every word, line, or chapter of their text in the preamble of thought. At some point it might take on a life of its own where you feel your hand is merely being guided, but that can’t happen until you’ve made a start. Write your idea down in its simplest form. As I said, it needs a beginning, middle and an ending. Beginning; Tom falls for Mary and she likes him too. But Mary is seeing a boy called Harry. Middle: Harry is a bully and Mary has been afraid to break up with him for as long as she can remember. Tom is no hero but feels compelled to be with Mary. Ending: Tom is forced to stand up to Harry. Things go wrong; Harry gives Tom a good thrashing. But this gives Mary the strength to dump Harry and go off into the sunset with Tom… Not a blockbuster in the making, I’m sure, but you can see where I’m going. Those few short sentences provide a skeleton to put flesh on. Now you have your own idea written down, think about it before going further. It’s better to rearrange the bare bones before you have to start pulling flesh out the way to get at them.
Research: Okay, the words flowed, your ideas were brilliant – but were they accurate? Unless you’re writing something like Sci-fi or fantasy there is a high probability that your narrative will incorporate real events – make sure what you write is correct else the reader will lose belief in your ability: try to use more than one source to verify your work.
Patience equals quality: You finish your tale, great, you’re excited, the world of readers must see it, and they must see it now. Nope! From my own standing, you must complete at least 4 drafts – up to you, but that’s my unwritten rule. Done it, good, but you’re not finished. The work should be edited by a pro, and that even goes for the pro editor who writes; it is too easy to overlook your own mistakes. You’ve got it back from your editor – rewrite. Do not look at it and say they were wrong. They might be, but their interpretation is how they understood your written word, so if they didn’t get what you meant then you probably didn’t make it clear. Accept the criticism, that’s what you paid for.
Finished: Not yet, you’ve rewritten the book and you love it. It couldn’t be better. So how come it isn’t finished? Well, it might be, but you’ve just messed about with work that has been professionally edited and the quality might have taken a dip. Pay out to have it copy-edited/proof read. The few extra pennies you spend will be worth it.
Done it all? Great, you’re finished – good luck with the next steps.
Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.
Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense
Rating – R
More details about the author