Today I’d like to talk about the difference between an author who sells 2,000,000 copies of a book and an author who sells 200 copies. There is a big difference.
It takes time to learn the art of writing. Yes, this 2 million seller has been writing since 1995. She had a lot to learn, but we can learn from her when we read her books.
Here are some things I noticed in her writing.
- Every sentence was not started with the, her, him, she, he, they, and so. Personally I hate sentences that start with “so”. This shows an immature writer. Seasoned writers shy away from beginning too many sentences with those words. At times you have to, but please refrain as much as possible.
- A hook starts the beginning and end of each chapter. A hook keeps the reader wanting to read more. Writing is more than putting words down on paper, it is thinking about what you write. The first sentence of each book should be written in a way that the reader doesn’t want to put the book down. The end of each chapter should have a hook that makes you think, “I can read one more chapter,” even if it’s midnight and you have to get up at five the next morning. Been there, done that plenty of times.
- Try to eliminate as many ing and ly words that you can. If you think hard enough, you’ll come up with a better word.
- Always explain what you mean by not saying, that, there, and any other word that is not a noun. “She looked there.” Where is there? Did she look behind the couch, in the drawers, the closets, or where? We need to know where she looked.
- Use action verbs. Don’t say, “She went to town.” Did she walk, drive, run, stroll? Use a word that explains how she went to town.
- Use action tags. Don’t end every line of dialogue with “she said.” Was she doing something when she said it? “I don’t want to marry you,” she said slinging the diamond ring at him. We have action. That is so important. We are not writing about paper dolls, we are writing about humans. They move, not stiff like a paper doll.
I’m sure I could go on and on because writing is a learning process. I’d advise each writer to read books on the craft, go to conferences, have a critique partner, and most important get your manuscript edited before you send it to a publisher. It makes a world of difference in your writing.