THE BIGGEST MISTAKE BEGINNING WRITERS MAKE

images-1There is an abundance of guidance available–books, blogs, hand-outs–that illuminate the steps or “rules” to becoming a successful writer.  Be warned, however, as NYT Best-Selling Author Steve Berry says, “The first rule is, there are no rules.”

Similarly, there’s a plethora of material out there for novice writers, whether wannabe novelists or nonfiction authors, that expound upon the snares hidden along the path to publication.  That is, the mistakes that can be made.

But there is one mistake that beginning writers make I think is key.  I know, because I made it.

A SHAMELESS PITCH FOR THE ANNUAL SOUTHEASTERN WRITERS WORKSHOP

It wasn’t an easy decision for me.

I had to burn a week’s vacation and shell out several hundred bucks just to mingle for five days with 75 people I’d never met before. While I’m not shy, I’m not by nature exceptionally outgoing. Thus, having to hang out with a bunch of folks I didn’t know was well outside my comfort zone.

Not only that. This was to be at a writing conference. The people there would be–GULP–real writers. I knew for certain I’d be exposed as the Great Pretender, a shameless charlatan. My work would be sliced and diced. I’d become the laughing stock of St. Simons Island.

THE AUTHORING LIFE

For my non-Facebook friends, it’s time to bring you up to date on my authoring life.

First, my upcoming novel is now called Plague. It was born as The Koltsovo Legacy and went through three or four title changes before reaching the “carved in stone” stage. Plague.

Second, the release date for Plague is September 15. There’ll be an Atlanta Writers Club-sponsored launch party (book signing) at Peerless Book Store in Alpharetta, Georgia, that evening.

Third, my Website is currently in the process of being updated/upgraded. You should be able to view the new and improved model here by the middle of August.

WRITERS CONFERENCES … WHY?

Some of my friends, non-writers, knowing I’d just returned from the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop, asked me what goes on at such conferences.

First, I must explain, there are different types of conferences. Some, such as the one sponsored by the Southeastern Writers, focus on teaching the craftsmanship of writing. Many, like those held by the Atlanta Writers Club, are designed to put authors in touch with literary agents and publishers. Still others, usually bigger gatherings—-the Willamette Writers Conference, for instance—-are a combination of both, sometimes with film agents thrown into the mix.

IT’S A WONDER WE GOT ANYTHING DONE

I’ve just returned from the annual Southeastern Writers Workshop on St. Simons Island, Georgia. It—-and this is according to others, not just me—-is one of the greatest bargains in Writerdom.

It’s a four-day affair in a beautiful subtropical setting, a causeway’s drive from the mainland. What makes the conference unique is that its faculty is embedded with the students. To say it another way, the instructors, some with highly recognizable names in the field of literature, are not averse to breaking bread with we lesser lights in the province. We chat like old friends over meals, in hallways, over coffee, during a stroll across the campus.

EYEWALL, THE MOVIE… WELL, NOT QUITE YET

As I’ve mentioned before, a lot of readers have told me they thought Eyewall would make a great movie.

Yes, it’s a dramatic story. But the novel may also exude “film appeal” because I tend to think cinematically as I write. I don’t do that with any ulterior motive, like hoping the book will get made into a movie. I do it because that’s how I find I can best embed readers in a scene: sights, sounds, smells, actions and dialogue. I essentially develop a film clip in my head and then attempt to replicate it with words.