The best advice I gave myself when I began the long, winding, and shockingly potholed road to publication three years ago was to seek the advice of successful writers. And I found plenty of it. Published writers are, for the most part, a generous lot. Perhaps they remember and are grateful for those who helped them along the way.
The problem with advice, however, is that it is often contradictory. Does one use italics for interior speech, for example, or is that frowned upon today? Will beginning with a prologue get you immediately shunted into the sidings? Which “point of view” is best for a first novel—first person, third person, or multiple? Is the “omniscient narrator” passé? Is tension necessary on every page or should you give the reader time to regroup? Are critique groups helpful or are they akin to writing a novel by committee? What haunts me are the questions I haven’t thought of yet.
Sigh. Sometimes it’s a blessing to be naïve. I began—with a story in my head and no clue how to tell it effectively. One piece of advice has been essential: Keep on keeping on. Persevere. Never give up. Develop what mystery writer Elizabeth George calls “bum glue.”
Recently, following a link on Twitter, I found a fascinating blog on the craft of writing. The most amazing part is that the blogger—Ninie Hammon—is married to an old friend. I knew that Ninie (pronounced “9e” – and yes, that’s her real name) was a successful writer of suspense novels, but I had no idea she had a blog. Or that it would be so entertaining.
I just finished reading her wonderful series entitled, “Ten Ways to Create Unforgettable Characters” (Aug 25th through Nov 25th of this year). Check out Ninie’s blog at www.niniehammon.com/blog.
Ninie knows what she’s talking about. She’s an unforgettable character herself.