… actually not very much. I read an awesome article on Terrible Minds (http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/05/12/dear-writers-none-of-us-know-what-the-fuck-were-doing).
Summing up, the article was a piece of advice to a new author asking how to do it. It being writing, becoming published, having success.
The author of the post summed up his knowledge of writing in a very clever way, finding it impossible to initially give the perfect advice. He said “…the deeper we go down this career, the less we seem to know…”
The analogy he used was “It's like this — [The new writer] is at the bottom of the mountain looking up. We're on the side of the mountain or even at its peak looking down. You have the climb ahead of you. We have the climb — or some of it, at least — behind us. We have a view of the valley. You have a view of only the mountain. We know a little bit about climbing. We know some of the gear. We have our limited perspective on getting up to where we are, at present. We can only tell you what we know and what we did — and that's not entirely helpful. See, up at the peak, we've just achieved a new level of cluelessness.
This made me think, and laugh, because hell, it is funny. I have had question asked of me. How do I know my book is done? How do I know my dialogue is right? Should I use *insert grammar rules here* or not?
My answer is always, I honestly have no idea. Did I know The Christmas Throwaway was going to get big? No. Is All The Kings Men one of my favourite stories. Yes. Did it sell? No.
I have ideas of what works and what doesn't work, but I don't always keep them in mind when I write my stories.
My stories just happen, and I find it hard to pin down why.
And it's funny, but the author of the blog post I have linked you to comes up with some of the same conclusions, so I guess that is at least two of us… ROFL…
I read an awful lot. I still, to this day, say that you can't be a writer if you don't read. And I mean, in my genre mostly. I read what I think works, what I think doesn't work, and either way this informs my writing.
I write a lot. I mean, a lot. Crap, shiny, awful, good, I don't know, I just write it… And I am so lucky that I have an audience for my writing.
Accept that sometimes luck plays a part in success. Who you know, what the timing was, what captured a reader's imagination on a particular day… all of this is luck.
Talk to other authors. All the time. Read their books and get insights into their minds. An absolute must.
What advice would you give a newbie author? If you are a newbie author what would you like to know?