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47
Posted byModerator | /r/Nate_Parker_Books4 days ago
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Writers Spotlight


Zuberan this week's spotlight writer. You can ask them a question by tagging them with "/u/Zuberan" in your comment. You can also check out their sub: /r/Zubergoodstories


How is a spotlight chosen? If you find a writer who hasn’t been in the limelight yet, has multiple decent entries (at least 6 or more) over the past few months, and you think deserves a spotlight, send us a modmail with your recommendation! We’ll add them to the list and with luck, they’ll make it up here.


Past Spotlight Writers


[/u/alannaWu]-[/u/Potatowithaknife]-[/u/XcessiveSmash]-[/u/Inorai]-[/u/AllHarlowsEve]-[/u/ThreeEyedCrow1]-[/u/PhantomOfZePirates]-[/u/EdgarAllanHobo]-[/u/ecstaticandinsatiate]-[/u/wpscarborough]-[/u/LisWrites]-[/u/CSDouglas]-[/u/It_s_pronounced_gif]-[/u/Becauseisaidsotoo]-[/u/angelbreed]-[/u/apatheticviews]-[/u/Kuroikami]-[/u/EphesosX]-[/u/VanceValence]-[/u/M81atz]-[/u/Conleh]-[/u/SteelPanMan]-[/u/IntoTheSlushPile]-[/u/jrdnjones]-[/u/theamazingmrmaybe]-[/u/eeepgrandpa]-[/u/SexyPeter]-[/u/Boenerhorse]-[/u/mialbowy]-[/u/dori_lukey]-[/u/droptoprocket]- and many, many more. Check out the archives!

Spotlight Archive - To highlight the lesser known writers.

Hall of Fame - Our every month spotlight of a selected "Reddit-Famous" WP contributor.


Did you know we have a chatroom? It's open 24/7! Plus, who doesn't enjoy a good ol' word sprint every now and then?

11
Posted byModerator | /u/MNBrian /r/PubTips11 hours ago
Stickied post

Friday: A Novel Idea

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to /u/MNBrian’s guide to noveling, aptly called Friday: A Novel Idea, where we discuss the full process of how to write a book from start to finish.

The ever-incredible and exceptionally brilliant /u/you-are-lovely came up with the wonderful idea of putting together a series on how to write a novel from start to finish. And it sounded spectacular to me!

So what makes me qualified to provide advice on noveling? Good question! Here are the cliff notes.

  • For one, I devote a great deal of my time to helping out writers on Reddit because I too am a writer!

  • In addition, I’ve completed three novels and am working on my fourth.

  • And I also work as a reader for a literary agent on occasion.

This means I read query letters and novels (also known as fulls, short for full novels that writers send to the agent by request) and I give my opinion on the work. My agent then takes those opinions (after reading the novel as well) and makes a decision on where to go from there.

But enough about that. Let’s dive in!

 


Building A House... Blindfolded

We have a grandiose, often incorrect idea about what it means to write a novel.

Especially when we've never done it before. But even after we've written one, after we've finished something (and I mean really finished it, edits and polish and all), we still end up reminiscing about what actually happened.

I penned a whole bunch of wonderful lines. And then I fixed the grammar.

It's sort of funny, when you think about it. I mean, imagine you've never in your life built a birdhouse before. And now you're going to try. But you don't need youtube vidoes or tutorials or instructions. You're just gonna "wing it" and see what comes.

When you complete that strangely misshapen birdhouse, are you going to say "Wow. Now that's everything a birdhouse should be!" Or will you probably undo it all and redo it to make it nicer (or even start over completely)?

And yet, even though we recognize on a practical level that every skill in human existance requires repetition, trial and error (where error is the key word), and a lot of patience, becuase writing a book takes a really long time we just assume that's enough.

But you know what writing is really like? What it really resembles?

You're basically building a house... blindfolded.

And when you're done, you don't get to remove the blindfold and look at your work. You don't get to see what's actually there. You need others to read it and tell you what's actually there, and then you need to go back and fix it.

Your friends will tell you things like

  • The roof doesn't exactly cover the whole house. It may seem nice now to have that sunshine in that living room, but it isn't coming from those big windows. It's coming from the giant gap in the ceiling.

  • Your basement is more like a crawlspace, so I doubt that tennis court down there will be of much use.

  • A bedroom like that is a cool idea, but how are you going to get the bed in past that secret door and elevator shaft?


The Meaning Of The Phrase

This is where the truth "editing is writing" ends up coming to light.

You see, just because your friends and beta readers and your own mother (gasp!) has said some not so kind things about your house, that doesn't mean you didn't build a house. And that doesn't mean your house can't work -- with a little fixing up.

Because what you're comparing, when you think your first draft of your novel is amazing, isn't actually the draft. It's the idea in your head. And an idea isn't on paper. It's in your head.

That's why you're blindfolded. You're blinded by your own vision of what that house should look like, or is going to look like, and you're willing to forgive the missing roof in the sunroom and the tennis court in the basement with a four foot ceiling and the secret bedroom accessable by elevator shaft.

But your vision doesn't matter if people can't see it from your words.

You need people to see it from your words, to see it in their own mind. And the only only only way you can do that, the only way you can get there, is by letting people read it and tell you where it stinks.

It seems so counter intuitive. But it's not. If someone tells you that your book is amazing, they're complementing you and that's incredible. But they aren't helping you fix your house. Because fixing a house requires identifying where the problems are and developing a plan to make that part stronger. It doesn't involve seeing the best in the house, or imagining what it could become. You don't get to explain away the faulty kitchen to a reader who picks up the book at a bookstore. You can't tell them why the sun room has no roof and how it's not perfect but just "go with it."

Readers are vicious. They'll just put the book down. Opportunity cost. Other books fixed the roof. Why would they spend time reading a book that hadn't?

So as weird as it sounds, as weird as this is, you should be extremely thankful for every bit of criticism you recieve. You shouldn't listen to it all. People will tell you opinionated stuff like "the color is wrong here" and you might know better. But what you're going to hear, and you'll know it when you hear it, is a number of people mentioning something not feeling right in a certain room, and you're gonna know there's a problem.

But problems like these are exactly what you need. Your first draft may not suck, but it won't be perfect. There will be room for improvement. And that's exactly what you want to shoot for -- improving.

Make your house better. Make it stronger. Make it cleaner. Give it better lines, more color, higher roofs in the basement for the tennis courts, a bigger elevator shaft so the mattress can get through the secret door, extend the roof to cover the sun room.

Make your house better because it'll make it better for everyone else who walks through it, who lives in it, who sees it. Leave nothing to the imagination. Leave no improvements undone.

Build your house blindfolded, and then look for every opportunity to make it stronger.



That's all for today!

If you’ve got other tips to share, go ahead and add them in the comments below! Next week we’ll touch on a new topic that I have yet to decide. J

Happy writing!



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Building A House... Blindfolded [All]

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