Ten Wrongs Don’t Make a Writer
How to Avoid the Top Ten Fatal Flaws in Fiction
By Kathleen Y’Barbo
We’re a little over a week into the 2014, the time when New Year’s resolutions begin to lose their shine and some of us begin to wonder if we should have resolved NOT to make any resolutions. But what if your resolution was to finish a book? Keep that one, please! ACFW has so many great options for helping you along.
But what if your resolution is to take your finished novel and finally dip your toe into the waters of seeking publication? Good for you!! Perhaps you already have an editor or agent interested, but want to be sure you’ve done all you can to polish that book before you send it off. Even better!
Before you send your story off, you will want to be absolutely certain your manuscript sparkles. You know what you need to do. Now let’s look at a few don’ts. My top 10 don’ts to be specific:
10. Don’t forget Whose story it is. Pray before you begin and give it all to Him from the plotting to the craft to the time it takes to achieve your writing goals. Do the hard work of writing before you start contemplating selling. If you’re called to write, let Him see to the rest. Not to write could be disobedience.
9. Don’t lecture. This is a novel, not a textbook. Know what you want the reader to take away from the story and weave it in gently.
8. Don’t warm up your engines or describe sunsets. Start with the action. Hook the editor or you’ll never get the chance to hook the reader.
7. Don’t fail to make the viewpoint clear. Learn POV and do not head hop.
6. Don’t tell, show. Your reader wants to see the action, not hear about it after the fact.
5. Don’t be afraid to say ‘said’. Leave the barking for the pets.
4. Don’t assume. Look it up! Be sure of your sources and mindful of the Rule of 3s.
3. Don’t stop too soon. Learn self-editing. Give the editor/agent your best work, and give the reader a good satisfying ending.
2. Don’t ignore professional advice. Have a teachable spirit. Learn to whom you should listen.
1. Don’t give up! In the words of the hymnist, “Failure Isn’t Final.” Rejection is just redirection. Even if you wander 40 years, rest assured you won’t be wandering alone and God will drop just enough manna for each day’s needs.
Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a Carol Award and RITA nominee of fifty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad and nominations including a Career Achievement Award, Reader’s Choice Awards, Romantic Times Book of the Year, and several Romantic Times Top Picks. A proud military wife and tenth-generation Texan, she now cheers on her beloved Aggies from north of the Red River.
Her current release, SADIE’S SECRET, book 3 of The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series, releases February 1 from Harvest House publishers. Find out more at www.kathleenybarbo.com.