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Fiction Writing Publishers Want – Lesson One

In order to decide about writing, one must figure out what the purpose of it is.

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What exactly do you want? Do you want to pick up a pen with a feather and channel your inner Sir Walter Scott or Jane Austen? Do you want to don a black turtleneck, grab a laptop, head to Starbucks and look down your nose wearing slim, stylish glasses? Would you care to be a prolific, suffering poet? A Know-It-All Self Help Guru? A shady mystery writer or maybe even a rogue like Hemingway? How about a dark goddess instilling fear into night readers like Anne Rice? And while I mention Anne, how about some kudos on the sheer power of authors who give people like Brad Pitt eternal existence? So first, maybe pick a role model, then next ask yourself what more do you want? Would you like to gain the ever popular “lucrative income” by seeing your name in print (hopefully on a best seller list) or doing the E-thing while hopefully NOT pitifully gazing at your pathetic “3 books total sold” on Amazon (ok, so let’s not talk about me….) Instead let’s examine this whole impetus thing so you can get busy about the business of accomplishing….1st Step – answer the question: “What’s your motivation?” So once you figure out that part, you need to come up with a story that preferably has a plot, since it’s kinda hard to have a story without one, in that case it would just be a scene:

“It was a dark, stormy night and Marion was alone in her big, empty nest house, perusing her pathetic lack of sales list on Amazon, using a lint roller to get the cat hair off her sofa, and where she was also wondering why can’t somebody somewhere invent 100% non-caloric ice cream with a decent flavor…”
Now see – we have a scene, and not the kind you make in a restaurant when out with your girl Julie who runs into Ted, her ex-two-timing, deadbeat boyfriend who owes her money. So in order to make people care about Marion, you probably need to change her name to Jillian, which is not only cooler, but also sounds like a protagonist who is in really good shape, put a stalker outside in the darkness peeking into the window, add a deep, dark secret from her past, a ghost upstairs, and some additional conflict in her mind. You need to COMPEL people to delve into her problems, in other words, she needs to be complicated – so maybe you could have a big plot with a bunch of little ones poking out like a Venn diagram. So there it is, the challenge – come up with a story idea, then add a plot, and we shall go on from there…

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