Hello writers, I hope you’re all staying safe and sane. I’m continuing to offer up some short, quick-hitting blogs with tips for helping you get your books written and published! Last time I showed a few traps you can run into with your nonfiction. Today, I’ll do the same with fiction. Just like with nonfiction, getting published requires you putting the right project in front of the right person at the right time. And, just as there are some things that can help you when writing and pitching your book (see my previous blog posts), there are also things to avoid.
First up is having indistinguishable characters. In talking with editors, publishers, and literary agents, this is the number one thing that kills a good piece of fiction. All the characters sound, talk and even act the same…namely, they mirror their writer. It’s a tricky, challenging feat to not write in your own voice or to not give the characters the “soul” you embody as it’s what’s most familiar. But I can’t emphasize this enough; you need to stretch your bounds and get out of your comfort zone when it comes to your characters. Make them unique, make them relevant, make them powerful, make them push the story along. Make them living…characters.
Next is a lack of message in your tale. The truth is, we all read books and stories to not only be entertained and to tap into our various emotions, but also learn, to gain perspective. No matter what kind of book you are writing, there has to be a moral, a reason to write and share it. Don’t sacrifice the heart for the flash. Know what you’re trying to say and stay true to it!
Finally, the third is a lack of originality. I’m not talking about the story here; rather, I’m talking about how it’s presented. Yes, there are rules to follow in this industry, but even more important, publishers want to see your distinct style in writing. They are looking for the next creative voice, the next impactful author, the writer who might make a dent in the industry. Of course, the story is always most important, but have fun in how you present that story. Give it your unique personality. Make it YOUR story.
I hope that helps. More coming! Until next time, keep moving forward in your writing projects and know that I’m here to help. So if you do need some help, please reach out.
Take care, everyone!