It’s Fiction Friday!
Today, we get to hear from our friend, Colleen Coble, a USA TODAY bestselling author and the CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. If you love story-telling or you’ve thought about writing, Colleen shared with us 10 Essentials Every Aspiring Fiction Writer Should Know:
- Expect rejections. The rejection isn’t a personal thing either. The publishing house might have recently bought something similar or they don’t publish the type of story you wrote.
- While you’re submitting your first novel, get started on the next. That’s the biggest mistake I made in my career. I was so determined to get that first book published that I kept rewriting it instead of moving on to the next book. You learn to write by writing. Nothing can take the place of crafting the new story, then the next story.
- Read extensively in the genre you want to write. You’ll begin to understand the way a novel is constructed, how to write dialogue, etc.
- Read books on craft. I’m always reading a book on craft. That’s the really great thing about being a writer—you never arrive. There is always something new to learn. Some of my faves: Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. A terrific video or audio instruction to get is Michael Hauge’s The Hero’s 2 Journeys.
- Join a writing organization and attend at least one writer’s conference a year. I highly recommend American Christian Fiction Writers. The conference is excellent, with nearly every editor and agent in Christian publishing in attendance. Great teaching and great opportunity to connect with others in the industry.
- There is no “right” way to write. Some novelists construct scenes out of order. Some meticulously plot out everything. Some are seat-of-the-pants writers. Do what works for you. Try everything though to see what releases your creativity. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. I’ve tried plotting and it ruined the fun for me, but others would get hives at the thought of not having structure. We are all different.
- Mine your experiences. My family knows nothing is sacred and just might end up in a book!
- Utilize setting for the story’s benefit. It’s one of those layers that can really lift a novel out of the ordinary. You can use what’s happening in your setting to help figure out the plot and to add texture and mood to your story.
- Find a critique partner. My buddy, Denise Hunter, and I have been critique partners for 17 years! Even though we write different stories, I know what needs to go into her brand of story, and she knows what needs to go into mine. And brainstorming with another writer is a fabulous way to take a book to the next level.
- Embrace the editing process. I adore getting feedback from my editor! You never know if you really got across what you thought you did until someone reads it. Don’t assume suggestions mean “you did it wrong.” The publishing process is a team effort. We all want the very best book, and those suggestions are a gold mine. Learn to love that process!
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Do you love digging into a great novel? Are you an aspiring author? Come join the conversation! We want to hear from you!