|Photo credit: penmanila|
So when someone asked if I could write "where to start" type post for new writers, I thought it was a great idea. So here we go.
First of all, you may want to look at the first fifteen steps you'll be facing as a writer about to write a novel. Once you've figured out what you'd like to write about, it's time to decide if you're a plotter, pantser, or hybrid. Assuming you're the first or last, you'll want to think about your plot essentials and start turning your idea into a plot (and even if you aren't, you may want to try plotting without plotting). From there, you may want to try something similar to how I plot, or try combining two plotting methods.
Then it's time to first draft! Before you dive in, know it's fine if your first draft sucks, because first drafts are usually awful and that's okay. Some days you'll find you'll struggle to find the words (which is normal and okay), so remember ultimately first drafts are for you, and no, you don't have to know everything while first drafting. Also, while you're working, don't forget to take self-care days.
Once you've written your manuscript, worked with critique partners, and revised it several times, your manuscript is now query-ready. If you want to traditionally published it's now time to look for an agent. So where do you start?
Firstly, here are five things you should know before you get an agent. With that in mind, you'll want to research (for real, don't skip this step—do your research before you start querying) and pay attention to these red flags. Once you've researched, it's time to actually write the query letter.
To start with, here's a quick how to covering the basics, but don't forget to include manuscript-specific details and makes the stakes in your pitch personal. Remember you don't need these five things in your query, and as a bonus, here are some tips for choosing book comps. And for an example of a query that worked, here's the query I used that lead to my signing with an agent, and also my top ten querying tips.
Then time will come to do your best to survive the query wars. You'll inevitably have to deal with rejection, so remember hope is a great emotional remedy. And for some encouraging statistics along the way, remember it's okay if you don't debut with your first manuscript, because most writers don't. Eventually, however, you may get The Call, which is every level of exciting.
Once you get an agent you'll soon be on submission and hopefully, if things go well, you'll have to start thinking about launching your book. But even if you don't reach those stages for many more years, don't worry, because when you're a writer, time is on your side.
What other tips would you recommend for new writers?
Want to write a book & get pub'd but not sure how to start? Author @Ava_Jae rounds up tips from idea to querying. (Click to tweet)