Saturday, October 11, 2014

Writing Successful Stories

A week ago I revealed the Rules of Writing.  I think that clarification was long overdue but, despite its exhaustive coverage it left the secrets of how to write a successful story hanging.

A story is much more than the proper use of words, careful grammar, and precise, punctilious punctuation. One can follow all the Rules and still be unsuccessful in creating a salable story. Continuing my efforts to raise the quality of the genre I offer these steps to achieving blinding, overnight success*.

1.  Write your story (may require research**)
2.   Complete the story (may require even more research)
3.   Edit the story (yeah, the research thing again)
4.   Submit the story
5.   Deal with rejection (cursing, drinking,and crying helps)
6.   Submit the story elsewhere until it sells
7.   Go to step 1 and repeat.

You would like to think that there's more to it than that, but you'd be wrong.  Writing a successful story requires dedication.  Filling the blank page is slogging hard work; putting down one damned word after another, getting them to play together, and spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with personal frustration, disappointment, and anger, most of which can be dissipated by a kind word, and friendly review, or a fat check (or any acceptance at all, for that matter.)  Be warned that even a successful story may not sell or ever be published.  Commercial success is not necessarily a measure of a story's inherent worth. All writers have a trunk of such.***

After a while, even if you write the most successful story ever, there will still be a little voice in your head saying you could have done better and that EVERYONE will realize that you are faking it!

* Overnight success is usually achieved after years of effort
**Caution: Writers can too easily fall into the research black hole and never escape
*** We just don't talk about it


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