5 Questions Asked by Aspiring Authors

Becoming a fiction author isn’t easy. It takes hard work, dedication, and most of all, a love of writing. Below are 5 questions frequently asked by aspiring authors; and my take on them.

Where should an aspiring author start?

First of all, start small. Don’t jump into a full length novel on your first attempt at writing. Smaller projects are less overwhelming than a large one. But, if you’re good at storytelling and can make stuff up as you go, then by all means give it a shot.

Second, write every day. It can be as little as a few paragraphs, or pages if you like. The key is to get something down on paper (or on your computer) each and every day. It’s much easier to keep the momentum going that way.

Third, share your work. Don’t keep it to yourself. If you’re afraid to show it to family or friends, share parts online within a writing group.

What should you not do when writing a book?

It doesn’t matter which POV (Point of View) you take when writing; just don’t switch within the same story. If you start in first-person, don’t switch to third person halfway through. Stay in first from beginning to end. I prefer third-person when writing fiction, and first-person when writing nonfiction.

All stories have the same basic structure. The beginning, the middle, and the end. A good story has all of these, in the right order. You wouldn’t give away the ending before you wrote about the events leading up to it would you?

Just like real life, each character in your story is unique. He/she has traits, quirks, and feelings just like anyone else. It is their individuality that makes them who they are. Give them flaws, make them hurt a little, make them feel: just don’t make them flat.

What are some mistakes writers make?

Every story has a plot. Don’t make the mistake of leaving it out. It’s easy to get caught up in the act of writing, but don’t forget about the conflict you’re writing about.

Sometimes you’re going to have characters that are downright jerks. They need to have consequences for their actions just like real people do. Don’t let a murderer get off with just a slap on the wrist. Make him/her pay for what they’ve done.

It’s exciting to get to the end of your story, but don’t rush your characters to get there. Let them take as much time as they need to get where they need to be. If you find your paragraphs are getting shorter as you go, it’s time to see if you’re rushing through just to get finished.

How long should my first book be?

I have seen this question asked many times; and even asked it myself early in my writing career. The answer is always the same: as long as it takes to tell the story.

Work through your beginning, middle, and end without rushing, and your story will determine the length of your book. It’s better to not have an actual word count goal in mind, simply because you might rush (or drag out) the story to meet that goal.

Instead, let your story determine the how many words it is. You could have a story that can be told in 30,000 words, and that’s okay. If it takes 100,000 words to tell it, that’s okay too. Just don’t sacrifice story quality for quantity.

How do I know if my book is worth publishing?

As frightening as it is for an aspiring author, the best way to know is to let others read it. If you’re not ready for it all to be read at once, share parts with a writing group (in person or online). The members will be honest, and will help you with any plot holes.

Another way to know if it’s worth publishing is to have it professionally edited. Your editor will be frank with you, and you’ll have to make a choice. If he/she thinks it’s crap, then fix it and try again. If your editor doesn’t use a lot of red pen then you should be good to go.

You could also have a friend or family member read it. In all honesty, I think you might be sacrificing an honest opinion using this option. They may not be truthful for fear of hurting your feelings.

Wrapping it up.

Becoming a fiction author takes hard work, dedication, and most of all, a love of writing.
Aspiring authors should start small, write every day, and share their work.
When writing a book, do not switch POVs and make sure to include a plot.
The length of your first book should be determined by the story itself.
To know if your book is worth publishing , have it professionally edited or let others read it .

Have you started your book yet? Let me know in the comments or via the contact page.

Get your 10 Point Checklist for Authors here!


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