I recently received a query from a new writer.
It was clear the writer was committed to building a writing career; intent on making a success of it.
I passed on the query with a form rejection but then heard back from the writer.
The essence was "if this isn't working, how do I get better?"
I was taken by the gracious reply to what can feel like heartbreaking news, particularly at the start of a career.
So, how do you get better?
The writer thought maybe working with an independent editor was an option.
The time for an editor is when you've got good stuff on the page.
The question right now is HOW to get good stuff on the page.
These were my initial ideas:
1. Write more. Looking back over 10+ years of almost daily blog posts, I think I got a lot better (slowly to be sure, but overall.)
2. Read more. Read with a writer's eye. How does the author introduce characters? How do they twist the plot?
3. Force yourself to WRITE the assessments of books you've read. Having to explain something in writing really helps you clarify things. Then assess your writing of the assessment. Is it clear? Focused? Logical?
4. Type out word for word a novel you think works really well. It gets you into the novel at a granular level.
These are my things.
What are yours?
Please feel free to contribute in the comment column.