Friday, April 19, 2013

"They" say There is a Book Inside Everyone, What do you Think?

This is what I think.

Almost every one thinks they should write a book.

Some people think their own lives have been so fascinating everyone would love to read a book about them.

The reality is there are only a few people whose lives have been fascinating enough for a book to be written about them.  And even some of these don't have what it takes to write a book.

Unfortunately, nowadays most anyone can get published thanks to Amazon and other places that will help folks get published for free or pay. I say unfortunately because too many writers go this route who haven't learned what needs to be done to write a book.

First, anyone wanting to write needs to be a reader. It helps if the writer has a clue about what constitutes a paragraph, how a page of a books should look, simple grammar and punctuation, how to develop a plot, a beginning, middle and ending, what dialogue is all about, what it should do, the balance between action, dialogue and narrative, the importance of the setting, how to name characters.

How does a writer learn all these things?

Besides reading, the person who wants to write should be reading books on how to write, attending writers' conferences, joining a critique group, learning as much as he or she can about writing.

And then putting one's fanny in the chair and writing.

Once the writing is done, the book needs to be edited. First,  by the author, going over it carefully looking for errors and inconsistencies. Second by an editor or beta reader--not a relative unless they are a professional editor. This might have to happen more than once.

One of my books went through this whole process, ARCs were made and sent out. One reader found mistakes that I and the editor and publisher had missed.

And one more comment. Not everyone has what it takes to spend the hours doing all this. It means a lot of sitting in front of a computer.

So what do you think? Am I right or not?

Marilyn




21 comments:

Susan said...

Hear, hear, Marilyn! While almost anyone can string words together to the length of a book, most people don't have a clue as to what really makes a book, let alone a good one. Unfortunately, the aura and supposed prestige of being a 'published author' is so great that people who really shouldn't be writing books at all are turning out garbage and by doing so denigrating the entire industry. They wouldn't think of trying brain surgery or car tuneups without training, but - hey! - they speak English, however badly, so they think they can write a book with no training at all. Sigh.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

And find typos just like I did in my post. Will fix now.

Susan said...

Oh, the typo gremlin is always alive and well! If it were only typos we had to worry about with these wannabe writers I wouldn't say much of anything. Typos are indeed important, but to me they take a back seat to continuity of story and character, motivation, theme, premise, and all the other things that truly make a book.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Thanks, Susan, for your insightful comments. You are definitely right on.

Patricia Gligor said...

Marilyn,
You (and Susan) have said it all and I completely agree. What's interesting to me is that 99% of the people, who say they want to write a book, won't! And it's probably just as well. :)

jtzortman said...

In my opinion, writing the book was the easy part. It's the hours and hours of work that go into that book once you sign a publishing contract. It's, basically, a full-time job. I have noticed that there are a lot of people out there who will try to minimize those of us who have successfully written a book, as well.

Sally Carpenter said...

Most people don't understand the time one must spend with tush in chair. One of my friends keeps inviting me to do things with her on the weekends and most of the time I say, "I'm sorry, I have to stay home and work on my book." I work a day job so most of my "free" time is spent writing or catching up on writing-related emails. People who live busy, interesting lives don't have the time to sit down and write about it.

M.M. Gornell said...

Loved this post, Marilyn--and the comments so far. "I want to write a book..." are a common refrain. Nowadays I just keep my mouth shut when I hear them, and wish them the best of luck! If you've got a book in you, it'll come out, I think, and what Patricia said above is right on the mark. (again, just what I think) But I also think people putting out encouragement and positive thoughts to all would-be-writers is the way to go. There were times when I certainly needed to hear encouraging words...

Sorry for such a long comment. Means wrote an excellent post!

Madeline

Elaine Faber said...

Marilyn- It is almost laugable when someone says they "plan to write a book about their fascination life." Little did I know the hours I'd spend on my book, writing, learning, rewriting, still learning and now playing the waiting game for publication. Everyone who has successfully published should wear the Purple Heart, for surely you deseve such an honor for persevering.

JL Greger said...

Wise comments.
JL Greger

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I do believe that everyone has a unique story. But writing well is an entirely different matter. As you observe, Marilyn, good writing requires rewriting and editing.

P.I. Barrington said...

I agree completely Marilyn. It's like being President. Everyone thinks they could do a better job. If they could, they'd be campaigning or sitting in his seat. It's the same with writing and again I agree that most people believe their life stories are more interesting than others do and everyone assumes that you just sit down and start typing. Most people don't want to commit to that much work or to learning the craft; they want something easy and now they have that with free access to self publishing. I've been complaining about the ridiculous amount of "authors" who have flooded the market with their work, scattering the industry and making serious writers scramble for attention amid the tsunami of books. I also agree with Susan. I can forgive grammar and typos but if the author has no idea how to actually write it can be a waste of time to read or review. You've voiced a lot of frustration here Marilyn! Good post!

Earl Staggs said...

You couldn't be more right, Marilyn. Some people may have a natural talent, but they still have to learn the basics of writing. That in itself is a major task and not one everyone is willing to take on. Anyway, if anyone could write a good book, we wouldn't be special, would we? ;-)

Lorna Collins - Author said...

Amen, my friend. My favorites are the people who tell you they have a story, and then expect you to write it.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

What great comments everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

JL Walters said...

Marilyn, Great post. When someone says they should or could write a book, U follow up with "what's stopping you." Then I issue a challenge and tell them to sit down and write a thousand or two words a day. In a year they will have a book, Also they can't take a day off unless they pre-write their goal of words. Seldom does anyone follow up.

Sally Roseveare said...

Lots of folks who think they have stories to tell aren't willing to learn the art of writing. Writing a book is hard work that takes study, research, persistence,dedication, and a comfortable computer chair. And all that is the easy part!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Great comments everyone. Thanks for taking the time.

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