Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why Do I Exist?

Good question. I originally started The Writer Haven to be a BE ALL/DO ALL site for ALL writers. Hmm? Perhaps I spread myself too thin? I just couldn't get a grip on exactly what I wanted to share. Obviously I am NOT the Great and Wonderful Oz, nor am I the Oracle of Delphi. So what am I? And why do I exist?

I am a writer; a published author. I am an editor and edited several books, some now published. I am a speaker, lecturer, the guy standing at the front of the room babbling on. I want to share my knowledge and skills with others who are still banging on the wall trying to discover themselves.

Epiphany time.

Published authors still can learn but, for the most part, have very little use or time for such sites, like this one. So let's eliminate them from the mix.

So what do we have left? The struggling writer. The "I want to be a writer but haven't got a clue or even how to start" person.

Great! I now have a demographic. My aim is to guide those who are behind me, not ahead of me so much -- but if they want to glance back to see the competition, please feel free to do so.

Therefore I exist to share my knowledge with those who want to be like me -- published.

It is now my time to 'give back' to the community. Get ready. Take notes and absorb... OR come and get it, grasshopper!


You want to be a writer. Great. You have no idea. Being here, reading this, is a good start in the right direction. I'll share secrets... at least what you think are secrets but, in reality, are just common things you learn.

To write you need an idea. A spark of a thought. It can be a simple sentence, image, sound, smell, even taste. It is something that makes your mind go 'Hey!' and you act upon it. How can a sound, a smell, a taste be the start of a story? Easy.

Cherry pie. You can smell it baking. Your mouth drools at the thought of those luscious red balls of... Remember grandma's house when you were a little kid? Out at the farm? Did you hear the horse, maybe some cows or chickens? There is a memory there and if so, there is a story.

Memoirs are a big seller to a lot of hometown newsletters or the "Mother Earth" types. They are looking for those quaint stories about growing up in rural America. Even a little girl growing up in the boroughs of NYC can share a tale - a day in the country.

So, you sitting there wanting to write something. Take that thought and build a few words around it, then add a few more. Stand back; read it aloud. A little rough but even you realize that there is a story to be shared. Work with it. Clean it up. Then, and only then, let somebody -- preferably a writer -- read it. Your mom, Aunt Sue, brother Tom or even one of your kids are not going to be totally honest. They will hail it as the next great American tale to rival Stephen King. Trust me, it won't be. A writer friend will judiciously read and edit your story -- and trust me, it will have a lot of needed corrections. They are NOT some jealous monster out to destroy your creation.

Fix the problems. THEN slowly read it aloud, pronouncing each syllable with care and you will hear any awkwardness or killer wrongs.

Finally, the most important step - this is the step I avoided for over 20 years - you must submit. If you don't submit your story to anyone... First, it won't have a chance to be published. Second, you won't get positive feedback. By the way, a rejection is valid feedback so don't take it as an affront or slap to the face. They don't hate you. All they are saying is a) not the type of story they are looking for; b) we just ran a story like this; c) not our genre; d) super crappy writing.

Okay, they really won't put option D down unless you really don't have the skills to write, so don't fret D.

You received a rejection; send it back out the exact same day to another publisher UNLESS the editor gave you some valuable feedback, not just a simple rejection form. IF you got hallowed words from a publisher, read them and think deeply over what he or she said. Most editors do NOT say a lot on a reject. Save the rejection, fix what you were told, THEN mail it out to the next possible place to publication.

Oh, wait. Maybe the editor asked for a fix and re-submit. Do it.

And, while you're waiting for that acceptance or rejection -- what do you do?

Start another story!!!

A writer writes.

I hope you found this useful; let me know. Until next time...

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