When I first started writing, I wrote every night for about 6 months and what I had when I was finished, was a 50,000 word basic manuscript. Only then did I wonder what to do with it. I started reading ‘how to’ articles in magazine and bought books expanding on how to write / get published and then looked at what sort of word count I was aiming for. I wrote and rewrote this very first tale until I had a manuscript around 70,000 words long, which was (at least I thought at the time) pretty good. I sent it out and all I got was tumble weed.
I turned instead to reading and then a strange thing happened; I realised that some of the best fiction (in my opinion) broke the rules that had so tortured my fledgling mind. I began talking out loud, seeing things I'd changed from my original idea done in other books and saying, “But she's done that and this is a good book.” I was getting frustrated and angry and after a while I thought, ‘sod it’ and picked up my pen again and just wrote what I felt was right.
It may well be true that along the way I picked up several kernels of wisdom and tips I subliminally use today. And I’m not saying I never read these articles now, but having got this far, I guess I take each one with a pinch of salt and am more choosey with which ones I decide to use.
So I would say, by all means read around the skills needed for writing, read to the genre you want to join, but then, just go with your gut. Good luck.
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