Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 2/28/14

PLANT THE SEED

Some years back, when I was writing copy for magazine ads, several of us copyeditors were brainstorming ideas and came up with that focus statement: Plant the Seed.  Since then, my writing career has developed in very exciting ways I never imagined.  This has led me to work with a team of writing and publishing professionals who actually encourage me to talk about the many roads I’ve followed in building my writing skills.  There are no two writers (uniquely gifted authors) who have the exact same development experiences, yet many of the skills and abilities that have brought us success can benefit others.

So it is that over the last few weeks I’ve briefly shared concepts of Flash-Writing (quick and creative concept discovery), Picture This (visual expressions of emotion), and Imagine That! (blood and bones details).  My thoughts today carry these ideas a step further into the development of your book—whether fiction or non-fiction.

Write TO your readers—your Audience.  Look upon your words—sentences, paragraphs, chapters—as if they are the stage upon which you are developing the seed/theme of your book.

  1. Are your characters developed well enough to connect to the reader?  You can answer this by pulling the character OUT of the story and have that character write a letter to you.  Yes, step into the slippers and robe of your character and write a letter to yourself.  Listen to the heart of the letter—what the character would naturally be writing about to anyone—and decide if it “rings true.”  If so, you’ve done a good job of creating this character and/or developing the personae of the real person.  If not—if the letter comes across as single statement sentences, dry and lifeless—then you have some work to do.
  2. Do you know—really know—the topic/theme of your book?  Have you written it out in one sentence (something that could be Tweeted)?  I’ve known several authors who thought they were writing a book about one main idea and ended up realizing that the essence of their story was much more than they anticipated.  We don’t have to develop this one-sentence “test” from the beginning, but by the time we’ve written a complete first draft we should pause and dig deeper into what we’ve written.
  3. Do you have the social/cultural and environmental aspects accurately presented?  LOOK at the props upon your stage.  What are the characters wearing?  What type of money do they carry in their pockets?  What do they (and your readers) see outside their windows?  Again, get that first draft written, then go back and research the elements needed there.

By the time you’ve completed your second draft, most of the “seed planting” creative writing work will be done.  Then—set your manuscript aside—and think marketing.  If, indeed, you’ve written TO your readers, this will not be difficult.  You’ll know exactly who your audience is and the topic/message that needs to be highlighted.  However, if you’re a little intimidated by this element, talk to the folks on your self-publishing team and they can brainstorm with you—preparing to Plant the Seeds that will sell your book.

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

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