I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year and using it as a platform to push me to keep working hard on The Wolf Riders of Keldarra: Book 2: Second Elder of Ruh’nar. I was just updating my word count there, and spotted a message waiting for me. It was a message sent out on behalf of an author called Natalie C. Parker. Here’s what it said in part…
BREAK THE RULES. It’s easy to get distracted by all the “do’s” and “don’ts” of storytelling. We’ve all heard rules. Don’t use adverbs! Do use dialogue tags! Don’t start with a dream sequence! Do start close to the moment of change!
Writing is about making your own rules. No one has written your manuscript before, so no one knows what’s going to work until you show them. So, ignore the noise that says there’s a right way to write a book and find your own rules.
Over the last few days I’ve been beating myself up over a bad review I received. It apparently said I was making “editorial errors”. Well it was for me more of a wake up call to get into action on the editor front. So I guess I’ll get a much better book out of this that will get enjoyed by a lot more people.
But going back to the above quote. I write my book in my voice. Not everyone may like it, and if someone doesn’t like it, just put the book aside and move on. But those who decide to give themselves a chance to read the book will find a wonderful world. Like what this reader told me:
I’m really enjoying book 1. I particularly love the detail you put into scenery and the fruits and history of the land – Jenna H.
I’ve realised that the biggest criticism I got from those who didn’t seem to like reading my books, is that they can’t get into it. I’ve decided they are right, and that’s why I am going to work with an editor to fix my first book The Wolf Riders of Keldarra: Book 1: The Stone of Truth 10-15 chapters at a time. Each time I get a section that’s sorted, I recompile my files to upload for the various eBook sites I am on, and each time I will re-upload a new file for the print version. And when it’s all done I’ll ask Amazon to push through an update so everyone with a copy of my book gets the new and improve edition delivered to their kindle or reading app. Stores will take about six weeks to update.
So why am I opening up about this?
Being an author is hard work. It’s mentally taxing, you have to be extremely organised. And here’s a screenshot of my planner showing all my planned books. Obviously I can’t give away specific details about titles etc. So this is as detailed you’ll get.
There’s an author who goes out of her way to teach other authors the way to do stuff in this business. Her name is Joanna Penn, and she runs the site The Creative Penn
. I secretly call her my “action-packed guardian muse” but don’t tell her I said that. She has stacks and stacks of information on her site that’s useful for authors who are just starting and those who have been at it for a while already. she shares on every aspect of being an author and running your career as a business. Thanks to her, I am becoming more and more that way.
And then I tripped and fell down, because I made the biggest error… not getting an editor sooner than I did. Well that’s sorted now.
I am by nature a very sensitive person, and I don’t take criticism easily. I get hurt by it easily. Joanna says you need a thick skin to cope with this business. But I am also a believer in compassion. I am not angry with the person who did that bad review. In fact, he did me a favour. He gave me that wake-up call I needed so badly. If I did not get that one star rating I’d probably write the next two dozen books and always be in denial about what’s needed to succeed.
After the editing will come the proofreading. And I’ll flesh out the story so it’s even better to read if that’s also needed. I’ll work on improving until I am certain the story is as best as I can make it. I do it every book I write… one step at a time…
One day in the future, perhaps a decade from now, I will come back to this post and add a comment to it that will be so simple. It will say “I’ve succeeded”. But you only get success with hard work, and part of that hard work IS to accept when you need help…
Thank you for reading. I wrote this from my heart.