When I think about my first novel, I am terrified that someone may actually read it someday. I feel the same way with my second, third, and fourth novel.

However, back then, I really thought my first attempt was a book that everyone would enjoy. Keep in mind, this was writing the old fashion way. (Yes, I mean a typewriter.) Also, it was much tougher to do research for my books. I spend a lot of time at the library. Not only is more information available for authors these days, but information is more attainable than fifteen years ago.

That is a good and bad thing. Authors can improve their craft much quicker than in the 90′s. However, authors feel they are ready to be published after the first attempt, because of that knowledge.

Most of you will cringe when you find out that it may take twelve novels to reach a point where you are a publishable author. Those who are willing to accept that fact, go on to flourishing careers.

There are three ways to improve: reading, writing, learning. All three take time.

Novel One: You can tell a story. That is just about it. Your manuscript does not “read like a book.” The characters are interesting, just not presented in a way that readers can relate to them. There are scenes in your book that do not matter to the story. The best thing you have going for you right now is that you know for a fact that you want to be an author.

Novel Two: You’ve done a lot of research on writing and found out some mistakes you are making. Your story improves and your character’s begin to take life. However, you are still weak on dialogue, pace, and overall mechanics. This is also the point when writers change styles. (Maybe you switch from first person to third person narrative.) You are still pushing the story down the reader’s throat, rather than in a more natural pace.

Novel Three: Your manuscript is starting to read with more interest and you are able to articulate your thoughts in a way that brings enjoyment to readers. Your dialogue between characters has improved, but still needs work. In addition, you discover a lot more of the basic rules of writing that you are doing wrong.

Novel Four: You become a research fanatic in order to bring realism to your story. Your characters and plot are more complicated, but bring life to the book. You take more notes and have more sub-plots. The story has enough momentum and enjoyment to bring the reader to a great ending. Dialogue has taken shape.

Novel Five: You feel natural at the computer writing your novel. Ideas begin to flow out faster than you can write them. You begin to work harder on the mechanics of your book, which gives you a slight setback, because there is a “growing” period that takes a bit away from the story.

Novel Six: Your talents deepen. You are now beginning to understand what everyone is talking about in the publishing industry. You are somewhat able to transfer that information to your manuscript. You begin to read much more than in the past, which is helping your writing. You develop a style that is all your own. Mechanics are stronger, but still needs work. Characters are amazing and the premise will keep readers glued.

Novel Seven: Something changed in this book. You became more story driven. You discover writing talents that you never had before. Your manuscript becomes a statement or testimonial to the world. For this book, the audience can relate more and will be shocked at what could happen to the average person. Mechanics of your writing have gone to another level. Suddenly, you are hard on yourself and want to improve even more.

Novel Eight: You find yourself reading more than you were writing. You become obsessed to discover a great book. You realize that your talents of being an author are equal to others who are published. You are receiving feedback you never heard before. Greatness is flowing from your heart, to your mind, to your fingers, and to the manuscript.

Novel Nine: For some reason, your book becomes longer. When you first started, the plot topped off at a 100 pages. Now, you are on page 200 before that happens. You do not know how any of your books will end, because the characters have taken over. You can sit down and write a chapter without much effort. The reader feels like they are flying from one page to the next.

Novel Ten: Another transformation takes place. Once again, you write a story with deep hidden meaning. The characters have layers that peel away during the story. Your talent level has come to a point that you can handle several different plot twists at the same time, all coming to a head for a dramatic ending. Dialogue has been perfected and flow of your story has a natural feel.

Novel Eleven: Your speed at writing has become like nothing you’ve ever dreamed. That spills over to the style of your book. Readers cannot put it down. The story and characters keep the audience thrilled as if they were watching a movie. Your mechanics are polished to a point where you feel confident that anyone can read your work.

You are ready…

Novel Twelve: This is pure greatness. A masterpiece. Something that everyone will remember you by. The characters are real in your mind. The plot is a risk that only you can pull off. No one else can write like you can now, because you have developed a style that surpasses even the bestselling authors in the world. There was a time when you thought about being published. Though that time has come, it is almost as you do not care.

It’s all about the writing now. Nothing else is clouding your vision.

Novel number twelve changed your life.

Ron Knight

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1 comment

  1. Eileen Schuh

    Excellent advice, Ron. Too often writers are advised not to give up but to keep submitting, submitting, submitting. However, to improve our chance at success, we really must take time between submissions to improve our work, network, and research the market.

    Thank you for including my website and blog on your “links” page. I invite your fans, friends, and family to search through my sites for great writing tips from guest bloggers as well some articles I’ve written about tricks I’ve learned along the way.

    Eileen Schuh, Author
    “Schrodinger’s Cat”

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