Are you continuously seeking out new information, updated techniques and writing styles so that you can remain up to date in the industry? Being unwilling to learn, adapt and change can be a setback for both beginning and existing novelists. Whether you've been writing for three minutes or 30 years, there's still more to learn. I've been writing for more than 30 years, and I still learn something new every day. Most recently, it finally dawned on me that there's a difference between 'sat' and 'set' when writing in third-person past tense.
Sat - Past tense and past participle of sit (Dictionary.com)
Set - To put something or someone in a particular place (Dictionary.com)
I've been using those words interchangeably forever. When did it finally dawn on me that they were different? After writing my ninth book. If there ever was a forehead-slapping moment, that qualifies.
Other Things I've Learned Over the Years
This is not correct dialogue punctuation - "I'm going to the store." Bob said.
This is correct dialogue punctuation - "I'm going to the store," Bob said.
Using anything but said and asked is frowned upon for dialogue tags.
The Oxford comma is no longer required and fading from existence.
Using two spaces after a period, exclamation point, question mark or any ending punctuation mark is no longer done.
There are rules in fiction.
Publishing a book that opens with dialogue is frowned upon.
Publishing a book that opens with a character waking up is frowned upon.
Self-publishing no longer carries the stigma of being a less-than author.
The worst-case scenarios for getting a traditional publishing book contract are still the best case scenarios if the story ends with - I got a book deal and an advance.
But You Can't Tell Me Nothing I Don't Already Know!
I'm right there in the boat with ya, buddy! I am stubborn. I am hard-headed. I am absolutely set in my ways, and there is not a damned thing you could tell me that I don't already know or will immediately classify as bullshit. Welcome to the club, and here's the truth. I don't know everything. I doubt I've even scratched the surface of everything I need to know about fiction writing, and you haven't put a dent in that surface either. It would take lifetimes to learn everything about fiction writing. This is why there are thousands of writing books on the market. Every author has experienced something different. Every author has different advice, or they put it into a different format. I would venture to guess that even if you stacked all those books together, including this one, there's still more to learn.
It is this hard-headed, closed-minded thinking, however, that will slaughter your forward momentum and negatively affect your improvement and growth as an author. You have to open your mind to new ideas. You have to read. You have to continuously learn more about your craft, because other authors are going to learn the new techniques. They are going to purchase and buy those writing books, and if you are standing still, you are falling behind.
If You’re Not Growing, You’re Shrinking
The cliche'd advice in business is that if you are maintaining and not growing, you are falling behind. This is because your competition is looking at new ways to grow and expand. You can think of it like the evolution of TV and media. In the 80s, everyone had VCRs. In the 90's, everyone had DVD players.
Today, all that stuff is stored on your harddrive or delivered to you digitally. The companies that did not move forward with the times to develop and build DVD players and then move forward to provide streaming services are out of business, and you will be too if you stop learning and stop growing your authorpreneurship.
What does this mean? It means that you, like myself, have to open your mind every once in a while to new ideas and new thought processes and new writing techniques, and yes, even knew writing software in order to stay up with the times and improve your writing and your business. After all, how many authors do you know that are still using a typewriter and white-out to create their final drafts for submission to agents and publishers?
Being an author or any type of business person means that you must be willing to continuously learn, grow, adapt and change.
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- 8 Tips on How to Quickly Self-Edit a Novel
- Extreme Fiction Manuscript Editing ...
Read More Fiction From Stacey Carroll
With time running out, 18-year-old senior, Kelsey, must get straight A’s to qualify for a scholarship to college. After living several years on the street with her poverty riddled parents, in by a man she calls Uncle Greg, but he only agreed to house her until she graduated from high school. With four weeks left, Kelsey has to prove that she has a 4.0 graduating GPA to get a free ride to college via an exclusive scholarship, and that means getting straight A’s her final semester and somehow convincing the teachers to change her previous grades. If she can’t do it, she knows she’ll end up back on the street.
In a high school that's better known for it's scandals and internal investigations than for it's high acedemic achievement, high school senior, Kelsey Smith, has her work cut out for her if she plans to take home the A-Plus Scholarship so she can get a free ride to college.
Disadvantaged due to her upbringing on the street and missing years of primary schooling, Kelsey just doesn't know enough of the material to get straight A's, but she does know how to manipulate her friends into doing her homework, and she likes to think she'd good at giving the men what they want. Can she turn her orgasmic skills into straight A's? She only has four weeks to make it happen! Otherwise, she could find herself back out on the street!