Self-publishing Advice Guest Post

Thank you Ms. Christmas, Book Doctor

Q: The following question arrived by e-mail and is intentionally left unedited:

whats your opinion about someone analyze all things around him , usually searching for trunth , scientific facts , research any case confront , has high imagination , alawys contemplate , endure social & world problems as his was the responsible for solving it , has photographic memory , live his own live as serial episode , all his wishes & principles hope to be done , moreover usually try to prove his view for hisself & others , has the ability to write coversation between two persons for more than one hundred pages , daydreaming all the time, imagine seeing this by making stories in his mind

my question all people around me touch that suggest me that I may me a good writer , or story writer

but I need your opinion as you an experts , are the above behaviours can qualify me or intutive behaviours for a writer or artist ?

A: The analytical behaviors outlined in your note indicate an excellent start on the path to visual or literary arts, but it takes much more than intuition or inclinations to become a writer.

A person with good balance but no practice cannot hop on a bike and win a marathon. First that person must practice many hours, days, months, and years, to learn the skills and nuances of mounting the bike, pedaling, steering, cornering, braking, and dismounting. The person must also build stamina, muscle, and skills, before being able to perform at peak level.

The same principle holds true for the arts. People who want to become writers must hone their skills in grammar, punctuation, syntax, and spelling. They must learn about writing clear, compelling copy and believable dialogue; building characters; creating and sustaining a plot; maintaining tension and conflict; and much more.

I’m concerned about the low level of clarity, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and even typing in the note I received, so I have serious concerns that the person who wrote that note has not yet developed the basic skills necessary to become a good writer. If you want to become a writer to take advantage of your great analytical skills, the next step is to acquire and hone the skills you will need as a writer. Seek classes in grammar, punctuation, typing, and creative writing. Learn to develop an eagle eye for errors. Join writing groups, read books on writing, write, and get feedback on your writing. Practice, practice, practice, and you will see progress toward your goal.

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Bobbie Christmas, book doctor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too. Send them to Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at

2 thoughts on “Self-publishing Advice Guest Post

  1. I just discovered this site, which is why I am so late to this conversation.

    All due respect to Mr. Marcus, I actually find this writer’s email note rather fascinating. It reminds me of emails and texts that I have received from young people via their cell phones; thus, the lost capitals, excess spaces, transposed letters, and odd punctuation. I don’t mean to disparage the young. It just seems that older correspondents are more careful in this regard. On the other hand, the young are often more free in their expressions.

    Of course, I have no way of knowing if this writer did, in fact, submit this email from a phone — or if he or she is young. I just wonder. I also wonder, from the sentence construction, if the writer is a native English speaker. Having corresponded with many folks from around the world, the pattern of expression here feels a bit foreign. Again, just another guess.

    What really impresses me, however, is the sense I get of this person’s self-confidence and imaginative spirit. Such faith and vision are critical attributes for any fiction writer; actually, for all writers. Of course, you’re very right to point this person toward the formal study of writing as a craft. Clarity and command of one’s language are equally indispensable to the art. Might I add to this my own humble suggestion? If you want to write good stories, read good stories.

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