A great story is not enough – write it well


I’m shining a light on something, just as this shines on a section of the original temple wall in Jerusalem. Part of my writing journey is reading. In the last year and a half since getting my kindle – I’ve probably read nearly 200 books. I see a pattern emerging.

Because the publishing world is so difficult to break into – everyone can now publish a book. All you have to do is pay for it.

But I’m noticing a trend. Self-published books can have grammatical and spelling errors, they’re too wordy, and there’s too much “information dump” – which is part of too wordy. Let’s look at these separately.

Errors – I recently read a book by a new author and new publisher. There were so many of the same mistakes, I contacted the publisher. Here’s what he said: “We just wanted to get the book released. We’ll correct the mistakes for future printings.” I wanted to sock him in the nose. Sloppy and unprofessional.

Wordy & dumpy – Just in the last week, I’ve read two great stories that I had to somewhat skim through parts of. The authors thought I needed to know every character’s life story – or there was just too much of what is called narrative summary or information dump.

What’s the answer: do what I’ve done. Get writer’s training from royalty authors. I did it through Christian Writer’s Guild, but I’m sure there are many other great writing schools out there. Learn what’s really needed in a telling a gripping and concise story. Learn writing techniques like scene and sequel. Avoid on-the-nose description, POV problems, and repetitive use of words, which are all common mistakes self-published authors have. Enough soapbox for the day. (hint: some of those I recognize because I’ve been guilty of them – and they have been pointed out to me by my writing mentors.)

It’s May Day, and a pretty one here after several days of rain.

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