Originally Posted by gerrybbadd
Thanks for doing this Elizabeth.
I've recently started writing myself. I'm 5,200 words into my story. Have the whole thing plotted out in my head. The problem is, I'm not sure my style of writing is very interesting. The language could be a bit bland.
Have you any advice for writers starting out? How did you go about getting published? I'm considering going down the Amazon self publishing route, but I feel this may be a cop out of sorts.
Hi Gerry, you're very welcome. Well done on writing the first 5000 words of your novel!
My advice would be for now, don't worry about the quality of language, just keep going and get that story out of your head and onto the page. It's like being a sculptor - you've got to prepare the clay before you can mould it. Once you have your first draft, the real work starts. All good writing is rewriting - but this is a great thing! It's when you can play with the dialogue, the language, the style. if you do that too early, you might cut it out anyway and all that time spent on beautiful prose is wasted!
Also, don't be surprised if what's in your head starts to change on the page - this is natural and can lead to some great plot twists or characters. If it deviates too far, you can always clean it up later. For now, concentrate on getting your first draft down, enjoy the process, and keep up the motivation – attend some writing courses, make some fellow writer friends, go to some events at festivals.
Then, when you complete your first draft, put the manuscript away for a month, print it out and reread as a reader - you'll see plot holes and character inconsistencies, but shaping them is an enjoyable process. Everyone is different but i'm usually on at least draft four of a complete novel (85,000 to 100,000 words) before i even show it to my agent. and i don't worry about typos until the very final stages – it's all about getting the story and characters right first.
Re publishing, I chose the traditional route but many writers start out self publishing (eg Catherine Ryan Howard, Hazel Gaynor) or choose to self publish only. if you self publish, you still need several drafts, an editor, a cover designer, etc. The quality should be just as high, but you pay the costs (and receive a bigger share of the royalties). You have time to research while writing your book. Either way, it's a longer journey than you might expect, but if you keep it all about the writing, you'll love it.
I hope that helps and good luck!