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"Me either," a young woman in the back of the room called out.
The beleaguered instructor tried to talk about structure, readability, and editing. It was too late. The crusty old newbie had verbalized the frustrations of potential novelists. Dreaming of the millions being raked in by the likes of King and Rowling, they wanted success on their own terms – and who could blame them?
We all want to control our destinies. Writing seems like a way to rid ourselves of demanding bosses, schedules, and rules. We want our internal clocks to wake us. We want to sit down at our computers when the mood strikes. We want to write what we want to write – and we resent editors who suggest that we have too many adverbs. We want to pursue personal projects – and we want those books to pay handsomely. We want publishers to hire fawning publicists to shepherd us to events where crowds of adoring fans queue up to shake our hands. Is that too much to ask?
I've been writing for forty-five years. So far, my coffers aren't overfilled with cash – but I've gotten my share of positive reviews, fan mail, and awards. I've met a lot of interesting people – and somewhere along the way, I faced the fact that compromises are required in any industry. Still, I haven't resorted to the proverbial "formula" that seems to aggravate new novelists. Instead, I am guided by a contract with my readers – to give them a heart stopping, touching, enjoyable ride. Face it. People want the rolla-coasta.
So, how do you do that? Here are a few suggestions.
Something For Everyone
Faith In Your Reader
Confidence & Humility
Keep It Tight
It's common sense really. No formula is necessary. You aren't writing for you if you want to sell your work. You are writing for your reader. It helps to know who they are apt to be. It also helps if you like them. However, regardless of how you feel about your audience, live up to your promise to entertain them – and they will come back to you time and again. Everyone loves the rolla-coasta.
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