Amidst other free-lance work, I'm writing a novel. It's both invigorating and intimidating.
With all the tools we have today, writing is so much easier now than it used to be. The market, however, is much more difficult. In the old days, if you were adept at grammar and chose an interesting topic, you were likely to be published in just about any genre. Nowadays, it's much tougher, even if you can write fairly well.
The competition has increased. Information and technology have reached the MAX Q of all time. Writers and writer wanna-be's are a "dime a dozen" and self-publishing has become a stronger marketing venue.
To top that, the general public is just not entertained with mere reading as in days of old. With the invention of satellite television, video games and wireless Internet, people are looking for cutting-edge material to read. The joy of plain reading has been replaced by reality TV shows and adrenaline-rushed activities . Stories must now be twice as entertaining, more concise, in keeping with fast-moving trends but not too colloquial. These facts can leave the aspiring writer feeling inadequate.
Despite this, those who love writing will always find a way to pen ( should I say 'text' or 'key in'?) the stories that are on their hearts. True writers do it for the sheer love of writing. Publication is merely the icing on the cake.
Cake minus the icing is dry so it is important that writers do take the time to adjust some of what they write to suit the market. They need to learn ways to improve in their genre and /or branch out of their comfort zones to other genres they may have never considered prior.
There are a myriad of great tools for pros and amateurs alike. Writing formulas are important and every publisher has guidelines. Excellent writers utilize resources without compromising their own ideas and goals. They follow the guidelines and formulas for genres and look for the one thing that will make them stand out, perhaps "breaking the rules" without actually breaking the rules. They find unique ways to improve their craft.
As an aspiring writer, I am taking my own advice about stepping up the pace. Re-writing a novel which I had begun years ago, I bought a writing program to insert the manuscript text into in hopes that it will help me to make the novel even better. The editing and re-writing are an effort to come to the place where I am really pleased with the product I wish to publish. I don't want my novel to sound like it was written by a computer program but I do want to follow the formula of the genre for which I am writing. Not everyone can afford a degree in English but everyone can find free or inexpensive tools to help them improve their skills.
Being somewhat of a right-brainer, I have found the program, "My Novel" to be an interesting purchase. It helps to analyze and organize information, scenes, chapters, as well as to keep track of characters and timeline issues. I think this will help with continuity. It's like having a mini-editor, in a sense.
Recently, my husband was reading a series of Young Adult Christian fiction books to pre-screen it for our children. It really bothered him that the writer, who has had many, many series published apparently did not have continuity in the books. The author needed a continuity editor.
I can see how "My Novel" could help me as a writer with this potential problem. With all the edits and re-edits, it would be easy to miss something.
As I continue to use the program, I'll remember to keep you posted on how well it works and the things I like or don't like about it.
How about you? Do you have any programs or writing tools that you use to help you organize your writing ideas? Or do you have any favorite tricks for generating ideas for writing?
Let me know.