Step 1) Read Strunk & White's Elements of Style.
Step 2) Read Brown and King’s Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print. Repeat.
Step 3) Write a short story or novel and take it to the critique boards. Get your feelings hurt when people point out all the problems. Cry a little. Try again. Get your feelings hurt again. Try again. And again. And there will still be problems, but maybe not as many, and your skin has gotten thicker. So now you've learned how to take criticism. A lot of people live their entire lives without learning this skill--be proud.
Step 4) Repeat Steps 1 and 2.
Step 5) Keep writing. Keep editing. Develop a style; find your voice. Write more. Edit more. Send your novels to literary agents and publishers. Get form rejection letters. Realize you're not so special. Keep writing. Keep editing. Remember, this is what you like. Don't give up, because you've already succeeded. You are doing what you like.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Katelynn and Rosie, the sisters in The Globe, are loosely based on my daughters Katie and Abby. I didn’t make it a secret. Maybe I should have.
At one point while I read the story to them, Katie burst into tears. “You don’t think I’m that mean, do you?”
Oops. And I thought I’d toned the fighting down a bit.
Yes, my daughters used to fight often. Screaming. Yelling. Pushing. And the inevitable crying. When I got involved I only made things worse.
I think I began writing The Globe as a sort of self-therapy. I had heard the word ‘hate’ used by each of my daughters and it broke my heart. So I wrote this tale of adventure where two sisters, who often don’t get along, are thrust into deadly situations. I wanted to see, as a father, the deep love that I know my daughters have for one another. By putting these characters, who are so very like my own daughters, through the trial, I was able to see this love in action, if only in fiction.
After Katie had her meltdown from the story I tried to comfort her. “Katelynn isn’t you...she’s had a hard life. Her dad left and never came back. She’s upset.” And I added, “Katelynn is the main hero of the story. You’ll see.”
So I was able to finish reading The Globe to Katie and Abby. There is no grand revelation in the story; Katelynn and Rosie don’t miraculously understand each other and resolve never to argue again. Instead, the reader will see that the girls both hate and love each other, though the love easily outweighs the hate. And in real life my daughters didn’t behave any better toward each other after hearing the story than before.
But I felt better. My self-therapy worked.
The Globe is now an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Quarter Finalist. The full novel can also be found on Amazon here.